Ferrante plays politics at not-for-profit parade

Posted: March 18, 2013 in County Wide, New Jersey Primary
Tags: , , ,

As an attorney, Alicia Ferrante should have known better than to use a not-for-profit organization to promote her candidacy for Sussex County Surrogate. She should know what the law says about the prohibitions on mixing politics with the good work that charities do for the community.

At Saturday’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Newton, Ferrante had her supporters wear t-shirts that explicitly promoted her candidacy for Surrogate. Her supporters marched in the parade route and held a banner that asked people to vote for her for Surrogate. This violates the policies of the not-for-profit organization that runs the parade.

Ferrante SignThe rules of the parade set down by the “Sussex County St. Patrick’s Day Committee, A Registered Not for Profit 501(C)3 Organization” are very clear on this:

9. Banners, signs, floats etc. must appropriately identify the organization represented. Political and Commercial advertising on banners, signs, floats etc. within the Line of March is prohibited in connection with our exempt status

What makes matters worse is that this was not the first time lawyer Alicia Ferrante violated the rules of this not-for-profit organization. At a breakfast held by the group on March 2, 2013, candidate Ferrante took the unprecedented step of showing up with political campaign handouts advocating her election. She doesn’t seem to care about the rules and how her actions could affect the reputation of the Sussex County St. Patrick’s Day Committee.

How did Alicia Ferrante get away with it? Why didn’t someone do something about it?

Some observers have said it is because of the presence of former Freeholder Glen Vetrano in Ferrante’s camp. As reported in the New Jersey Herald, Vetrano is Alicia Ferrante’s biggest supporter in Sussex County. Vetrano is a member of the committee that runs the parade and is a past grand marshal of the parade. Glen Vetrano was one of the organizers at Saturday’s parade and some have suggested that nobody wanted to have a public argument with him about Ferrante’s activities.

Ferrante ShirtIt is worth mentioning that the only other person to publicly flaunt the rules like Alicia Ferrante did was State Senator Barbara Buono, the liberal Democrat candidate who is challenging Republican Governor Chris Christie in November. At Saturday’s parade, Senator Buono also had a banner that explicitly promoted her campaign in violation of the rules.

Should we mention that the public employees union where Vetrano once served as a union official is supporting Buono over Christie for Governor?

  1. Legal Advisor says:

    Internal Revenue Code Section 501(c)(3) Prohibition on Electioneering

    501(c)(3) organizations are prohibited from participating in, or intervening in, any political campaign on behalf of, or in opposition to, any candidate for public office. This rules comes from the language in section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code (IRC). Generally, this means an organization cannot make contributions to candidates (whether cash or in-kind); cannot make endorsements (whether in support or in opposition to a candidate); and cannot allow the use of the organization’s resources without giving equal opportunity to other candidates.

    The penalty for violating this prohibition is revocation of tax-exempt status. The IRS does however have the option to impose intermediate sanctions provided for in IRC section 4955. The intermediate sanctions are excise taxes on the political expenditure with an initial 10% on the organization and 2.5% on an organizational manager who knowingly approved the political expenditure. The IRS has given warnings to organizations for violations in the past but there is no rule that the IRS must give a warning in lieu of or before imposing a penalty.

  2. frank says:

    As for this article,and the parade rule, which you posted, would indicate that the Sussex County Republican Committee, the Tea Party, the Sussex County Democratic Committe, Jeff Parrott and Gary Chiusano ALL violated the rule and used the parade to further their political cause as they all marched with banners referencing their political affiliation and or position. Seems to me Mr. “Secret Consultant” your team is very concerned about this classy well qualified candidate and the fact that she is for real in this race.

    Not to mention, all of the banners were seen prior to the start of the parade by numerous members of the committee including Sen. Oroho and not one organization was pulled out of the line up. What’s good for one is good for all!

    Jan you are correct with your comment, the Sheriff did do it at the parade in Branchville and also in the St. Patrick’s Day parade on a fire truck. Freeholder Mudrick also did the same and both are doing an outstanding job as public servants.

    • Someone took a dump in Frank's brain says:

      Elected officials serving in office are different from candidates for public office. Are you a dope or what? Read the law. One is representing the taxpayer and the other is politics. Looks like someone needs to file a complaint against this classless troll.

      • Brown eyes says:

        Whoaa, “frank” posts like the facebook posts of that shit for brains we elected in Byram. Smiles to your face and then screws you every chance. now screwing every elected Republican in the county and in bed with that asshole Democrat on the council. next time run as a Democrat!!!

    • Legal Advisor says:

      Frank, did you realize that Vetrano was affiliated with all three (Ferrante, Strada and Mudrick) when you wrote this?

      Nobody is saying they are bad people (although Ferrante as a lawyer should know better), but they are endangering this worthy organization’s tax status and breaking the organization’s rules.

  3. Eadbhard O'Broin says:

    That was a St.Patricks Day Parade ?? looked more like a Firemans Parade. As for A. Ferrante being allowed to march and stump for votes , look at the make up of the parade comm. all politicians and friends of politicians

  4. Jan says:

    Before Strada was elected sheriff, he drove a truck with a big sign with his name and office in the Branchville Memorial Day parade in Branchville. I didn’t know if it was against any laws, but I thought it very inappropriate and e-mailed him with my negative feeling (and said I wouldn’t vote for him for that reason only).

  5. Dr. Moe says:

    It’s a conspiracy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  6. bat shit says:

    Catch the “paid for by the committee to elect alicia ferrante for surrogate”.

    Either this is a POLITICAL expenditure for campaign purposes or Ferrante BROKE THE LAW by using campaign funds for personal use.

    Take your pick Ms. Lawyer.

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