House Of Representatives Again Tries To Undermine Johnson Amendment.


The U.S. House of Representatives on July 19 approved a spending bill that includes language that would undermine the Johnson Amendment, the provision in the federal tax code that protects the integrity of our elections and nonprofits--including houses of worship--by ensuring that tax-exempt organizations don't endorse or oppose political candidates.

Section 112 of the Financial Services and General Government (FSGG) Appropriations bill, which funds the IRS and other federal agencies, would make the Johnson Amendment nearly impossible to enforce by erecting several administrative hurdles. It would require consent from the IRS commissioner, notification to two congressional committees and a 90-day waiting period to investigate any potential violation. And, even though the Johnson Amendment applies to all 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations, the bill's language would apply only to houses of worship--likely violating the First Amendment's prohibiton on favoring of religion over nonreligion by the federal government.

U.S. Reps. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) and Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) in June proposed an amendment to strip the harmful language from the bill, but the House Appropriations Committee defeated their proposed amendment in...

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