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A Congressional Committee is poised to vote to weaken the Johnson Amendment, which provides federal tax law protections that draw clear lines between nonprofits and electioneering, and shield nonprofits from being pressured by donors to support or oppose particular candidates in any election. We urgently need your help to stop this from happening.

The U.S. House of Representatives Appropriations Subcommittee on Financial Services recently approved a FY2018 appropriations bill that includes a provision (known as a rider) that would significantly weaken enforcement of the law on nonprofit nonpartisanship. The full House Appropriations Committee reportedly could consider the appropriations bill as soon as Wednesday, July 12. There are more details about the appropriations bill proposal below.

The Representatives from California who serve on the House Appropriations Committee need to hear from you TODAY.
We ask that you call or email with the simple message that "I ask that you act to strip the Johnson Amendment language in Section 116 from the Financial Services appropriations bill.”

The list of Representatives and their contact information is below. If you are in the district of one of these Congress members, your call is even more important. (Click the district link if you aren't sure if you are in one of them.) And if you can only contact one, please call Rep. Ken Calvert, whose position on this issue is less clear.

Pete Aguilar (D) 31st District 202-225-3201 email
Ken Calvert (R) 42nd District 202-225-1986 email
Barbara Lee (D) 13th District 202-225-2661 email
Lucille Roybal-Allard (D) 40th District 202-225-1766 email
David G. Valadao (R) 21st District 202-225-4695 email

For more background as well as the most current updates, please join our free webinar about the Johnson Amendment this Wednesday July 12 at 10AM, featuring representatives from the National Council of Nonprofits, CalNonprofits and the California Council of Churches. Register here.

More details on the Appropriations bill proposal

The Johnson Amendment, named after then-Senator Lyndon Johnson and signed by President Eisenhower, protects nonprofits from being pressured by donors to support or oppose particular candidates in any election. Nonprofits can take positions on ballot measures and bills, but not on candidates.

This is how the proposed provision would work: The rider, Section 116 of the House Financial Services and General Government FY2018 Appropriations bill, would prevent the IRS from spending any funds to make a final determination that a house of worship or its affiliate has violated the Johnson Amendment unless the IRS meets three conditions: (1) the Commissioner of the IRS consents to a determination of unlawful conduct; (2) politicians on the House and Senate tax committees are given 30-days' notice of the law-enforcement determination; and (3) an additional 90-days' notice is provided before enforcement can commence.

According to Newsweek, Section 116 "would make it exponentially more difficult to enforce" even the most blatant violations of the Johnson Amendment. The rider is fatally flawed in that it would erect unconstitutional and unreasonable hurdles on enforcing the law that ensures nonpartisanship. We can't let that happen.

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