(WASHINGTON, March 22, 2018) – The following statement is from Daniel J. Cardinali, president and CEO of Independent Sector:
“Independent Sector is pleased that Johnson Amendment repeal or modification language was not included in the Fiscal Year 2018 omnibus spending agreement. We are especially grateful to a bipartisan group of Congressional leaders, as well as tens of thousands nonprofit and religious organizations, who have been instrumental in ensuring the continuation of the Johnson Amendment’s critical protections for the nonprofit sector.
For more than 60 years, this law has played an essential role in maintaining public confidence in, and support for, the charitable community. It ensures that charities remain a nonpartisan haven, separate from politics, in our civil society. Changes to this law would allow charitable and religious organizations to endorse political candidates and potentially raise money for their campaigns.
Despite continued claims to the contrary, the Johnson Amendment is not an issue of free speech, but rather a debate over the preservation of our nation’s last truly nonpartisan platform. Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code already permits charities to educate public officials on issues relevant to their mission and important to their clients, members, or communities – and we strongly encourage all nonprofit and religious organizations to take advantage of these opportunities already provided in current law.
Our charitable and religious organizations, as the public trust demands, should remain above the political fray, advocating and informing leaders, but not engaging in political activity. We expect that those who oppose the Johnson Amendment will continue their efforts, and we urge all policymakers and the nonprofit sector to reject any proposal to insert partisan politics into the important work of serving our communities.”
Independent Sector is the only national membership organization that brings together a diverse set of nonprofits, foundations, and corporations to advance the common good. Learn more at independentsector.org.
Kristina Gawrgy Campbell