501(c)(3) Political Activity: What is Your Strategy for Compliance?

(1136 Ratings)

Produced on: April 07, 2016

Course Format On Demand Audio

Taught by


Course Description

Time 62 minutes
Difficulty Intermediate

In today’s world, charitable organizations must strike a balance between the increased opportunities for political participation by non-profit officers and employees and the potential reputational risks and other pitfalls to the 501(c)(3) organization. Although the IRS prohibits 501(c)(3) charitable organizations from engaging in any political activity, individuals associated with a 501(c)(3) organization have a First Amendment Right to participate in the political process. Join Genova Burns LLC Partner, Rebecca Moll Freed, Head of the Corporate Political Activity and Non-Profit & Tax-Exempt Organizations Practice Groups, for a discussion on key considerations for developing a strategy to comply with the IRS ban on 501(c)(3) political activity.


Learning Objectives:

I.     Gain a general understanding of the IRS definition of political activity and the distinction between political activity, lobbying and educational activity

II.    Identify the parameters of individual political activity

III.   Recognize potential pitfalls of individual political activity 

IV.   Develop strategies for compliance to protect 501(c)(3) status 


Rebecca Moll Freed

Genova Burns LLC

Ms. Freed advises corporations, partnerships, limited liability companies, trade associations, charitable organizations, social welfare organizations and political action committees on the legal aspects of their political activities.


Ms. Freed has substantial experience with New Jersey’s pay-to-play laws; she has lectured frequently on the topic, and written extensively on the issue as well, including articles for New Jersey Lawyer, New Jersey League of Municipalities Magazine, and New Jersey Law Journal.


Ms. Freed also has extensive experience in procurement law, assisting clients in the preparation of RFPs and RFQs on the state and local levels. She has represented numerous clients in bid protest disputes before administrative agencies and before the Appellate Division of New Jersey Superior Court.


As Director of the firm’s Corporate Political Activity Group, the Non-Profit and Tax Exempt Organization Practice Group and Vendor Political Activity & Ethics Compliance Training & Audit Programs, Ms. Freed provides training and counseling to companies, in-house counsel and corporate ethics and compliance officers who seek to maximize government contracting opportunities while assuring compliance with the law.


Representative Matters:

  • Assists clients in the development of political activity compliance policies and training programs.
  • Advises on corporate ethics.
  • Advises clients on the impact that political contributions may have had on their ability to maintain eligibility for government contracts at the state, county and local level.
  • Defends clients in pay-to-play ineligibility determinations at the state, county and local levels.
  • Represents non-profits on creating independent expenditure political action committees that comply with the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United v. FEC.

Ms. Freed serves as co-Chair of the firm’s Strategic Planning Committee. From 2013 to 2015, Ms. Freed served as co-Chair of the firm’s Inclusionary Initiative, which encompasses the firm’s Women’s Initiative and Diversity Initiative. The Inclusionary Initiative focuses on the common goal of fostering better lawyers and serving our clients’ needs.


Memberships and Affiliations:

  • Member, Newark Academy Board of  Governors
  • Participant,  Newark  Academy  -  Newark  Scholars Program
  • Board Counsel, Women’s Political Caucus of New Jersey
  • Co-Chair of Common Ground Speaks, an initiative that sponsors a free lecture series featuring distinguished speakers who address topics related to child development, parenting and education at Far Hills Country Day School
  • Trustee, Partners for Women and Justice, 2011 to 2014



  • Recipient of the “Mary Philbrook Award” by Women’s Political Caucus of New Jersey, 2016
  • Honored as a “Woman of Distinction” for the Class of 1994 by Newark Academy for her contributions to the legal industry and to the community, 2014
  • Listed in NJBIZ as one of “Forty Under 40”, 2010
  • Listed in New Jersey Law Journal as one of “Forty Under 40”, 2008



  • “Adoption and Implementation of a Political Activity Compliance Policy: Don’t Let Your Employees’ Individual Political Activities Put Your Company at Risk” (New Jersey Lawyer, June 2014) (co-author)
  • “Independent Expenditures: A Mechanism for Bribery in the Procurement Process?” (New Jersey Lawyer, February 2013) (co-author)
  • “Local Pay-to-Play Restrictions: An Unconstitutional Impingement on First Amendment Rights?” (New Jersey Lawyer, Dec. 2006)
  • “How to Cut through the Confusion of Pay-to-Play” (New Jersey Municipalities, Feb. 2006)
  • “Pervasively Regulated Industries Can Participate Politically”  (New  Jersey  Law  Journal, 167 NJLJ 28, January 7, 2002)  (co-author)
  • “The Right to Vote and Be Counted: A Liberty at Risk” (The New Jersey Lawyer, April 2005) (co-author)
  • “Pay-to-Play: Political Contributions Doing Business with the Government Must Beware” (New Jersey League of Municipalities Magazine and the New Jersey Business and Industry Magazine, 2004) (co-author)


Bar Admissions:

  • New Jersey, and U.S. District Court, District of New Jersey, 2001
  • New York, 2002



  • Georgetown University Law Center, J.D., 2001
  • Tufts University, B.A., 1998


Micheal D.

One of best 501c3 professional development I have viewed in person or online. Clear recitation of standards, expectations and law. Really good on do’s and don’ts.

Paul S.

Very polished presentation!

Beth S.

very useful!

Gerard M.

good intro to the subject speaker was good and well prepared

carol b.

Speaker certainly knew her subject and handled questions well.

Steven M.


Maria H.

She was excellent.

Kenneth K.

speaker was excellent!

Jean Margo R.

very well cone

Frank K.


Robert S.

Excellent program and wonderful presenter.

Jennifer H.

speaker was very engaging and knowledgeable. Would recommend her to others.

Antoine M.

Thorough discussion on specialized topic

Courtney M.

Would be interested in hearing more about when orgs have a c3 a c4 and a pac. More written materials on that would have been good too. Maybe a chart?

kay B.

good course, I wish Texas would give credit for more of your courses on non profits

Mara H.

I am on the board of a small 501(c)(3) and serve as the pro bono legal advisor to another 501(c)(3) which sometimes engages in issue advocacy. I found this CLE very helpful. The speaker provided a great deal of information in a well-organized and easily understandable way.

Rebecca Z.

Great program and presenter. Thanks!

Brian F.


Diana M.

Great presenter

Ann W.

The content was spot on for what I was looking for. Presented very clearly and with good depth.

Russ C.

Excellent detail of compliance programs

Richard R.

excellent overview.

Benjamin S.

very good presentation!

Sharon A.

Very helpful for pro bono work

John O.

Very informative

Sarah W.

This was a fantastic seminar. So informative for me, a non-profit employee.

Jonathan W.

Not my area but interesting.

Charles B.

This was a great presentation!

Joseph H.

Good course

Anthony M.

Very well done.

Lorenzo L.

The instructor answered four questions at the end of her presentation that enhanced the overall value of viewing the course.

Kirk L.


Michael K.

fantastic program

Tonianne F.

well presented

Michael B.

Lawline should consider hiring speaker as spokesperson for Company because she is very smart, as well as articulate and photogenic

Diane E.

complex--organizations need continued training

Steve S.


Gary K.

very good presenter!

Katrina M.

Very interesting.

Wilbert C.

good lecture

Mark B.

Very good overview. I recommend this course highly.

Layne D.

This was a great seminar and every non-profit administrator should watch it.

Matthew H.

This was a highly informative program with an effective and engaging speaker. I learned a lot.

Quietta B.


John M.

well done

Kiman L.

Very clear messaging.

Jeffrey T.

Very informative!

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$ 59 Non-Profit, Election, Campaign, & Political Law, and Public Interest Law In Stock


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