December 15, 2017 — New York
AJC welcomed action that preserves the Johnson Amendment.
The Johnson Amendment bars political activity by organizations receiving tax deductible contributions, including religious organizations. “This important legislation, appropriately restricting religious and other non-profit groups from supporting or opposing political candidates, has worked well for more than six decades,” said Richard Foltin, AJC Director of National and Legislative Affairs. “The effort to fix what is not broken was unnecessary and wrong.”
In February, President Trump called for repealing the Johnson Amendment, adopted in 1954 by a Republican-majority Congress and signed into law by President Eisenhower.
The repeal proposal introduced in Congress was included only in the House-passed version of the tax bill currently being reconciled with the Senate-passed version. If approved, it would have opened the door to making houses of worship—and tax-exempt organizations generally—into centers of partisan politics, threatening their integrity and independence.
But the Senate parliamentarian ruled yesterday that the proposal to repeal the Johnson Amendment did not meet Senate rules that require all elements of the tax bill to be related to the budget.
“The Johnson Amendment, thankfully, is preserved, for now. Still, vigilance will be required to counter any other efforts by opponents of this important law to destroy it,” said Foltin.