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Compliance Corner: Political Law Update for New Jersey Non-Profits


New Jersey is home to many active and prolific non-profits. As we enter the homestretch of a crucial federal-election year, and as potentially sweeping policy changes are being contested across the country, it is more important than ever for New Jersey’s non-profits to understand what they can and can’t do in the world of politics.

A New Jersey non-profit corporation can encompass a few types of organizations, with tax-exempt status determined by the IRS. Some common tax-exemptions include a 501(c)(3) charitable organization, a 501(c)(4) social-welfare organization, and a 501(c)(6) trade association. The rules may be different for each organization type.


New Jersey law permits non-profits to conduct lobbying activities without limit. The one change to note at the state level is that a 501(c)(3) that conducts New Jersey lobbying is exempt from paying the annual fee (currently $575) for registered lobbyists. 501(c)(3) lobbyists must still file reports with ELEC, but they are exempt from paying the annual registration fee.

However, under IRS rules, a 501(c)(3) is permitted to engage in only limited lobbying (all of which must further the organization’s charitable purpose). There are different IRS tests to determine how much lobbying is too much, but for purposes of this […]

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