Repealing the Johnson Amendment, a 63 year-old-law prohibiting charities from directly or indirectly supporting or opposing a political candidate, might be part of the Republican leaders’ agenda during upcoming tax reform debate.
At the Conservative Political Acton Conference in February, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX) said, “So in our Republican tax reform, we’re going to repeal the damaging effects of the Johnson Amendment once and for all.” Prior to Chairman Brady’s commitment to include a repeal of the Johnson Amendment in tax reform, President Trump asserted at this year’s National Prayer Breakfast that he would “get rid of and totally destroy the Johnson Amendment.”
The Johnson Amendment only restricts charitable organizations’ ability to engage in political activity. It does not restrict their free speech or capacity to participate in public policy. Charitable organizations remain able to advocate around mission-driven issues that impact our communities and our nation. Independent Sector opposes efforts to repeal the Johnson Amendment, which would jeopardize the public’s trust in and support for the charitable community.
Independent Sector and its partners have been engaging policymakers over the past several years to discuss improving the critically important rules governing nonprofit political activity. This spring, Independent Sector joined a collaborative, sector-wide sign-on letter calling on policymakers to protect nonprofit nonpartisanship.
Please join us in calling on policymakers to stop tax reform efforts to repeal the Johnson Amendment by visiting the Give Voice campaign and sign-on as a supporter. The deadline to sign on is Friday, March 31.
Allison Grayson is director of policy development and analysis at Independent Sector.