Giving Compass' Take:

• The Johnson Amendment allows charitable organizations to be involved in policy creation and advocacy while preventing engagement in partisan campaigns. This system allows organizations to engage with issues without being bogged down in elections. 

• Is the Johnson Amendment properly balanced to give charitable organizations sufficient freedom and regulation? What motivates opposition to the Johnson Amendment? 

• Find out how the 2017 tax reform bill impacts philanthropy

United Philanthropy Forum believes it is important to restate our strong support for the continued full enforcement of the Johnson Amendment. This important law prohibits 501(c)(3) charitable organizations from endorsing, opposing or contributing to political candidates and engaging in partisan campaign activities—but it does nothing to prevent religious organizations and other public charities from continuing to speak out on issues as they wish.

All charitable nonprofits, including churches and other religious organizations, are already free to speak on important matters of the day and advocate on policy issues and legislation relevant to their mission and important to their clients, members, congregations or communities. The only thing they cannot do, thanks to the Johnson Amendment, is endorse political candidates or fund political campaigns.

Allowing charities to endorse and support political candidates would be tantamount to allowing politicians to use the public’s goodwill towards the charitable sector as a vehicle to advance their own partisan political agendas. This would have the effect of politicizing and thereby erasing the public’s high trust in charities, painting them as partisan organizations rather than the nonpartisan community problem solvers that they are.

Read the full article on the Johnson Amendment by David Biemesderfer at United Philanthropy Forum