Sending Office: Honorable Beto O’Rourke
DEADLINE is Wednesday, October 4th COB.
Co-Leads: Clyburn, Lewis (John), Wasserman Schultz, O’Rourke
National Groups Support: Alliance for Strong Families and Communities Council on Foundations, American Humanist Association, Americans United for Separation of Church and State, Anti-Defamation League, Baptist Joint Committee for Religious
Liberty, Bend the Arc BoardSource, Center for American Progress (CAP), Center for Biological Diversity, Center for Inquiry, Center of Concern, CREW, End Citizens United, Franciscan Action Network, Independent Sector, Interfaith Alliance, Jewish Council for
Public Affairs, Jewish Federations of North America, National Council of Jewish Women, National Council of Nonprofits, People for the American Way, Public Citizen, Secular Coalition, Union for Reform Judaism, Unitarian Universalist Association, United Philanthropy
October XX, 2017
Dear Chairman Brady and Ranking Member Neal:
CC: Speaker Ryan and Leader Pelosi:
As Congress debates comprehensive tax reform, we urge you to oppose proposals that could politicize charitable nonprofit and philanthropic organizations. Specifically, we ask you to protect current federal tax provisions that prohibit tax-exempt organizations
described in Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code from endorsing, opposing, or contributing to political candidates. This longstanding protection, better known as the Johnson Amendment, has served as an important legal precedent separating charitable
organizations from electoral politics.
Since 1954, the Johnson Amendment has ensured that tax-exempt organizations, including charitable nonprofits, houses of worship, and foundations do not endorse or oppose political candidates. It protects the right of these organizations to discuss political
and social issues while, at the same time, ensuring they are not pressured by political candidates, campaigns, and donors to take a side in divisive partisan elections. It is widely supported by religious organizations and denominations, faith leaders, secular
nonprofits, and the overwhelming majority of Americans. In fact, in August 2017, more than 4,000 faith leaders sent a letter to all Members of Congress strongly opposing any efforts to weaken or repeal the Johnson Amendment. Similarly, in September, more than
5,500 organizations from all 50 states wrote each of us expressing opposition to any changes to the Johnson Amendment.
This policy has successfully shielded our nation’s charitable community against the rancor of partisan politics and allowed them to freely address humanitarian, social, and community-specific problems in a nonpartisan manner. Americans do not want our houses
of worship, charitable nonprofits, and foundations to become points of leverage for partisan politics. Nor do they want tax-exempt, charitable contributions to be funneled into political campaigns.
Therefore, we strongly urge you to ensure that any tax reform package retains the Johnson Amendment without modification. Thank you for your consideration.
Please contact Marc Rehmann in Rep. O’Rourke’s office at
Marc.Rehmann@mail.house.gov; Jonathan Steinberg in Rep. Wasserman Schultz’s office at
Jonathan.Steinberg@mail.house.gov; Jamila Thompson in Rep. Lewis’ office at Jamila.Thompson@mail.house.gov; or Tamika Mason in Rep. Clyburn’s office at Tamika.Mason@mail.house.gov with any questions or
to sign on. DEADLINE is Wednesday, October 4th COB.
e-Dear Colleague version 2.0