The National Council of Nonprofits has come out against the latest attempts to politicize charities and foundations that would alter long-standing federal law by removing the restrictions on engaging in partisan, election-related activities.
The group went public in its opposition to such actions after President Trump said in a speech in February that he wanted to “destroy” the Johnson Amendment, which prohibits churches from endorsing or opposing political candidates. Legislation has been introduced in the House and Senate that would similarly loosen the restrictions by allowing certain statements and activities in support of—or against—political candidates.
“Although all of these latest proposals are couched in terms relating to churches, in truth the underlying law is Section 501(c)(3) in the Tax Code, which relates to all charitable nonprofits and foundations,” explained Tim Delaney, CEO of the National Council, in a statement.
“For more than six decades, the law now being attacked has protected charitable nonprofits and foundations from being pressured by politicians and paid political operatives to divert their time and resources away from advancing their missions in local communities.
“Nonprofits are already free to exercise their First Amendment rights to advocate for their missions. Allowing political operatives to push for endorsements would put nonprofits in a position where they become known as Democratic charities or Republican charities and put missions at risk,” he said.
Instead of revising the laws, Delaney pointed out what he said were several more productive ways to help the charitable sector, including:
- Guaranteeing a seat at the table in upcoming policy discussions.
- Preserving and expanding charitable giving incentives in any tax-reform measure that is considered.
- Considering the ramifications of domestic spending cuts on charitable organizations.
To read the National Council’s statement in full, go to http://bit.ly/2kTzUkt.