At this year’s National Prayer Breakfast, Donald Trump promised to "get rid of and totally destroy the Johnson Amendment.”1
That sounds obscure, but here’s what it would mean: a whole new era of secret money in politics.
Trump’s plan wouldn’t just mean billions more spent trying to buy elections – it would give super-rich campaign donors a federal tax break for funneling money into buying political power.
Tell Congress: Don’t gut the Johnson Amendment!
The Johnson Amendment was passed in 1954 and named for then-Senator Lyndon B. Johnson. The purpose of the law is to draw a bright line between charitable and religious organizations and political candidates. Churches and other similar tax-exempt charities are not allowed to advocate for specific candidates or give money to their campaigns.
Churches and religious institutions can still advocate for social and political issues, run nonpartisan voter registration drives, and take positions on ballot initiatives. But they can’t do things like run negative attack ads against candidates.
Tell Congress: Stop Trump’s plan to give a federal tax break for big campaign donors pouring secret money into politics.
Churches, religious organizations, and other charities save billions of dollars a year due to their tax-exempt status.2 If Trump succeeds in his plan to destroy the Johnson Amendment, billions of secret, taxpayer-subsidized money could be poured into our political system.
Eliminating the Johnson Amendment would give millionaires and billionaires a whole new way to dump money into campaigns without anybody knowing.
Trump’s plan would turbo-charge the Citizens United world of money in politics that we all know and hate. We’ve already seen untold millions of secret money funneled into super PACs and shadowy 501(c)(4)s.
Now imagine a mega-church having its own tax-exempt super PAC. That’s what’s coming if Trump gets rid of the Johnson Amendment.
Tell Congress: No taxpayer-subsidized super PACs! Protect the Johnson Amendment.