Voices to Protect Johnson Amendment Grow Louder

Throughout the August recess period, nonprofit voices have been amplified across the country to protect the Johnson Amendment, a 63-year old law that prohibits 501(c)(3) organizations, including houses of worship, from engaging in partisan political activity.

President Trump and some in Republican congressional leadership, including House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX) have pledged to repeal or modify the Johnson Amendment as part of comprehensive tax reform. Efforts are also underway through the appropriations process to limit the government’s ability to enforce the law. However, the charitable and religious communities have not backed down, using this recess period to appeal more directly to lawmakers about the law’s importance.

On August 23, the National Association of State Charity Officials (NASCO) sent a letter to congressional leaders expressing strong opposition to efforts to repeal of weaken the Johnson Amendment, stating doing so “would adversely impact our member offices’ ability to protect the integrity of charitable assets and charitable solicitations.” NASCO’s stance is both powerful and noteworthy, because the group state level charity regulators are very selective with their public positions.

The NASCO letter followed a communication sent by over 4,000 religious leaders also calling for the Johnson Amendment to be protected. While some supporters of repeal have framed their support in terms of religious liberty, the letter from the religious community argues that “changing the law would threaten the integrity and independence of houses of worship,” adding “we must not allow our sacred spaces to be transformed into spaces used to endorse or oppose political candidates.”

Independent Sector and our partner organizations oppose repeal of the Johnson Amendment, and we need your help to ensure that this critically important law remains part of our tax code.

Visit our Action Center, and add your voice to this debate today.

Types: Blog, Policy Update
Global Topics: Administration, Congress, Public Policy, Religion
Policy Issues: Lobbying & Political Activity, Nonprofit Operations, Political Activity Rules