MONTCLAIR, NJ — NorthJersey.com reported on Wednesday that “[f]ive activists, including three Montclair house of worship leaders, pleaded guilty in connection to a sit-in at U.S. Rep. Leonard Lance’s Westfield office earlier this year”; two of the defendants hail from a congregation whose activities were the subject of a recent SaveJersey.com post.
The protect itself concerned the controversial ‘Dream Act’ proposal; the defendants’ resulting charges were reportedly reduced from defiant trespassing to disturbing the peace at the request of the prosecutor, and the sentence was a $100 fine.
Among the five defendants who have already plead guilty in this case (a sixth defendant is reportedly scheduled to plea on a later date) were Rev. Ann Ralosky and associate pastor John Rogers of First Congregational Church. Save Jersey founder and editor Matt Rooney profiled the congregation back in June 2018 after First Congregational permitted an apparent anti-Republican ‘Flip the House’ political recruitment event on its premises hosted by an activist organization called ‘Blue Wave.”
After contacting the Church and being directed to a facilities manager, Save Jersey never obtained an answer to several questions including whether the even may have been violative of IRS regulations.
According to the IRS’s website, “the law prohibits political campaign activity by charities and churches by defining a 501(c)(3) organization as one ‘which does not participate in, or intervene in (including the publishing or distributing of statements), any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for public office.”
Congressman Lance, a moderate Republican, is facing a tough challenge from liberal Democrat Tom Malinowski this year in a district that was carried by Hillary Clinton in 2016.