Home > Policy Call-to-Action: Threat to Johnson Amendment Advances in House

Policy Call-to-Action: Threat to Johnson Amendment Advances in House

On June 13, 2018, the House Appropriations Committee takes up a bill that includes a harmful anti-Johnson Amendment rider. Included in a spending bill for fiscal year 2019 is an extraneous provision that would enable politicians, political operatives, and donors to pressure nonprofits into endorsing candidates and diverting charitable assets to fund political campaigns. 

Just two months after Congress rejected efforts to weaken the longstanding tax law that keeps partisan politics out of nonprofits, houses of worship, and foundations, new legislation is being considered to undermine it.

Section 112 of the Financial Services and General Government (FSGG) spending bill seeks to make it virtually impossible for the IRS to enforce, against certain nonprofits, the 1954 Johnson Amendment provision requiring nonprofits to be nonpartisan – even for the most egregious violations. The proposed change would effectively give “churches” a free pass to ignore the longstanding law that prevents them, and other charities, from endorsing or opposing candidates for public office, or diverting nonprofit assets to fund political campaigns.

This change to the Johnson Amendment would contradict the wishes of the vast majority of organizations that benefit from keeping divisive partisanship out of their operations, as reflected in GCN’s sign-on letter to Georgia’s elected officials, and in: 

 

TAKE ACTION TODAY 

Express your strong opposition to politicizing our sector by contacting your U.S. Representative.

Email or tweet your U.S. Representatives to deliver this simple message:
Partisanship has NO place in charitable organizations – whether houses of worship, charitable nonprofits, or private foundations. Vote to remove Section 112 from the FSGG bill.

To email: To find emailing information for your U.S. Representative, you can check their website’s “contact” page. If you don’t know who your representative is, visit www.contactingcongress.org. Once there, you can enter your zip code, scroll down to find your representative, and click on the “email” icon, as highlighted in this screengrab:
 
Call your U.S. Representative and tell them:
The vast nonprofit community strongly supports the Johnson Amendment, the longstanding law that protects charitable organizations, houses of worship, and foundations from caustic, partisan politics. I expect you to oppose the FSGG Fiscal Year 2019 appropriations bill rider at Section 112 that would repeal or weaken the Johnson Amendment. Public trust is critical to the vitality and continued success of the charitable sector, and our credibility will be first victim once partisan politics are introduced into nonprofit work. Nonprofits are counting on you to preserve nonprofit nonpartisanship.
 

To call: Reach your U.S. Representative by dialing the House switchboard at 202-225-3121 and following the automated instructions.