Brigantine FD Union Head Gets Political on Facebook. Violation of Non-Profit Rules?

Did Captain Platt of the Brigantine Fire Department ignore non-profit rules when he posted political attacks on the Brigantine Firefighter Union Facebook page?

That’s what could potentially be the case when reviewing rules for non-profit organizations. Once accused by City officials of not being ‘management material’, the Brigantine FD union head is fighting back and supporting the FD union-friendly GOP ticket of Guenther, Simpson and Sera.

Tiger platt
Brigantine Fire Department Captain & Union Head Platt

While Mr. Platt’s loyalty should be commended, his recent social media posts on Facebook seem to violate a very important rule?

In order to maintain tax-exempt status, 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations cannot engage in political campaigning. Nonprofits with 501(c)(3) tax exempt status should be ever vigilant about this prohibition — a violation could result in severe consequences. The federal tax law is very strict on the issue of political campaigning: A 501(c)(3) organization is absolutely forbidden to directly or indirectly participate in any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elective public office. Violation of this prohibition could lead the IRS to completely revoke your organization’s tax-exempt status or impose excise taxes on your organization.

501(c)(5) organizations ( Like Brig FD Union ) are membership-based associations capturing labor/agricultural entities and business entities, respectively.

  • Permitted activities: Nonpartisan issue and legislative advocacy, lobbying, endorsement of specific legislation.
  • Advantages: Not required to disclose donors to the public, although shared with the IRS on Forms 990. Can accept contributions of any size; the Citizens United decision allowed for unlimited corporate contributions. Can engage in nonpartisan election campaign-related activity, but that must not be the primary purpose of organization. Can endorse candidates in communication with members, although not with public.
  • Disadvantages: Must be nonpartisan. Cannot publicly (outside of membership) endorse or overtly support or oppose political candidates.

SEE CHARITY NAVIGATOR to review local Brigantine non-profits.

As a 501(c)(5) non-profit, contributions to Brigantine Professional Firefighters IAFF Local 2657 are NON-DEDUCTIBLE.  See Details Here.


Tiger Platt background: Resident of Absecon, NJ., well-protected by an all volunteer, professional fire department. Platt’s salary in Brigantine is $129,000+. That number does not include overtime, health care or pension. Captain Platt is head of the local firefighters union and is responsible for all content on the IAFF Local 2657 Facebook page.

Posted by Mr. Platt on the IAFF Local 2657 Facebook page:

Robert Polillo is constantly posting on Facebook of all the abuses that have occurred in the Fire Department, and that the Public Safety Director was the one who uncovered the abuse. First of all, if there were abuses taking place and the city did nothing about it, then that would be criminal. Where are the results of the investigation for all the abuse?

As a matter of fact, has there even been an investigation? Robert has never reached out to 1 member of this department to ask how we operate or how we are structured. Instead he talks and talks of all the “abuse” and never has anything factual.

We will not sit back and allow you to spread lies about this great department to simply try to win an election. Isn’t that exactly what you did prior to the May 13th election? But it didn’t work. The great people of Brigantine saw right through all your lies and did the right thing for the island.”

In the Facebook post, Mr. Platt was referring to council meetings where Mayor Guenther admits ignorance of overtime pay-out procedure, and City Solicitor Scerni describes a procedure for investigating potential overtime abuse. WATCH VIDEOS>

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2 thoughts on “Brigantine FD Union Head Gets Political on Facebook. Violation of Non-Profit Rules?”

  1. I would definitely call that political campaigning on the firefighters website page! Whether its for or against, its still campaigning.
    By definition-An effort which seeks to influence the decision making process within a specific group.

    One problem! The lobbying and political campaigning rules for 501(c)(5) organizations and 501(c)(3) organizations are different.

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