July 12, 2017 / Press Releases

End Citizens United: Reject Rider Gutting Johnson Amendment

Provision in House Appropriations Bill would allow special interests to manipulate churches, funnel secret political money through the pulpit
ECU supports an amendment proposed by Wasserman Schultz to strip the rider from the bill

Washington DC — End Citizens United (ECU) is calling on the House Appropriations Committee to reject a rider in the House Financial Services Appropriations Bill that guts enforcement of Johnson Amendment, which protects churches from being manipulated by Big Money political special interests. Under the Johnson Amendment, churches, which receive a tax exempt status, cannot endorse political candidates. ECU supports an amendment from Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz that would strip the rider from the bill.

“For decades, the Johnson Amendment has allowed churches and charities to carry out their missions free from manipulation of Big Money political special interests and partisan politics. Now, President Trump and some extreme Republicans are chipping away at the law. This rider, slipped into a must-pass bill, would leave churches vulnerable to political mega-donors looking to push their agenda,” said End Citizens United President and Executive Director Tiffany Muller. “The last thing we need is another vehicle for big donors to hide their political contributions – and get a tax break for doing so. We strongly urge the House Appropriations Committee to reject the rider.”

End Citizens United, along with a diverse coalition of more than 100 faith-based, nonprofits, and good government groups, sent a letter to members of the House Appropriations Committee urging them to oppose the provision to gut the Johnson Amendment in the 2018 Financial Services and General Government Appropriations bill. In July 2016, ECU warned about Trump’s ambitions to allow Big Money interests to use churches as a pass through for unlimited, undisclosed money.

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