CalNonprofits Articles

Johnson Amendment Cartoon from Independent SectorThe  Johnson Amendment (passed in 1954) forbids nonprofits from endorsing candidates. We can of course take positions on ballot measures and legislation, but the Johnson Amendment protects us from being pressured to support a particular candidate for Congress, Board of Supervisors, or any other elect office.

Imagine if a major donor asked your organization to publicly support his choice for the Board of Supervisors. Or if a foundation president sent a letter to grantees asking them to publicly oppose the same candidate. The Johnson Amendment protects us from this kind of pressure.

Right now a small section has been added to the big federal spending bill that would crumble the Johnson Amendment. We need to let our members of Congress know that our work depends on having that section removed.

What you can do today:

1. Please call Congress' main switchboard (202-224-3121) to deliver this message to Diane Feinstein, Kamala Harris, and your representative in the House (if you don't know who that is click here to search by zip code.)

2. Then use the template below to tweet your Representative and Senators. Diane Feinstein is @SenFeinstein and Kamala Harris is @SenKamalaHarris. You can find other members of Congress' twitter handles here (note - this list is somewhat out of date, so if your representative isn't listed, please check their website.)

“.[Representative/Senator’s Twitter Handle] Partisanship has NO place in charitable organizations – whether churches, charities, or foundations. Oppose all efforts to include a controversial #JohnsonAmendment rider in any legislation being voted on this month. http://bit.ly/2NgDS5U

3. Encourage your colleagues to call and tweet too.

Want more background? Check out GiveVoice.org, the national coalition of nonprofits protecting nonpartisanship. https://www.givevoice.org/

Image Credit: Independent Sector

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