CALL TO ACTION: Act now to keep nonprofits nonpartisan
Feb. 26, 2018 - Georgia State Senate Resolution 752, which enscourages the federal government to efectively end enforcement of the Johnson Amendment, has passed the Senate Finance Committee and now goes to the Senate Rules Committee.
Most urgently, we need you to call or email Rules Committee Chair Senator Mullis and committee members today to ask that the Committee hold the resolution or require public hearings prior to any further action. Tell them that SR 752 does not represent the interests of Georgia’s nonprofits.
Also, please sign on to our letter from GCN’s Federal Issues Coalition, joining fellow Georgia nonprofits in raising our concerns about this resolution.
Why this state encouragement matters:
1. This resolution directly encourages our federal representatives to retain a rider at the federal level that is currently attached to the omnibus spending bill that Congress will be taking up in a few days, which will cripple enforcement of the Johnson Amendment.
2. Now that Congress and the White House have reached a deal on the top-line budget numbers, lawmakers are beginning to finalize appropriations bills to fund agencies throughout the government. Hundreds of partisan riders have been added and must be negotiated prior to passage. Riders sponsored by Georgia Representatives Jody Hice (10th Congressional District) and Tom Graves (14th congressional district, Chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government) propose to repeal the Johnson Amendment or cripple it by making enforcement virtually impossible.
3. Repealing the Johnson Amendment, or effectively ending its enforcement, would unleash a flood of secret money into the political process and turn otherwise apolitical charities and religious congregations into partisan money-laundering operations.
4. Georgia’s elected officials should not encourage the repeal of the Johnson Amendment; rather, they should encourage greater enforcement of the existing law to keep nonprofits, foundations, and faith institutions non-partisan.
What the resolution does:
1. It sends "encouragement” from our state to federal legislators urging them to change rules currently articulated in the Johnson Amendment that effectively cripple the IRS’s ability to enforce this law.
2. It speaks on behalf of our state to federal legislators currently lobbying for the Amendment to be repealed or effectively nullified, saying that Georgia is in favor of abolishing the Amendment.
3. It may serve to spur other states to copy this "encouragement" legislation. (The effort began here because our own U.S. Representative Jody Hice, GA-10, sponsored the rider to defang the Johnson Amendment.)