End Citizens United (ECU) President Tiffany Muller released the following statement in response to the provision in the Republican tax reform bill that would repeal the Johnson Amendment, a crucial law that prevents political mega-donors from using houses of worship like churches, synagogues, and mosques to funnel money into campaigns.
Repealing the decades-old law would have severe consequences on the way elections are conducted. Americans donated about $119 billion to religious organizations in 2015. The entire cost of the 2016 federal elections – the most expensive in U.S. history – was $6.5 billion.
“The House Republican’s tax plan includes the terrible decision to repeal the Johnson Amendment, which can turn churches into tools for secret campaign spending,” said End Citizens United President Tiffany Muller. “This change would mean that big campaign donors could get a tax break for their political spending. Americans would no longer know whether their donations are being used to help meet the spiritual and social missions of their churches, or whether they’re going towards a politician’s campaign. This is a cowardly attempt to sneak a dangerous provision into the tax plan. Congress must reject this provision and strip it from the bill.”