February 24, 2017 MNA Johnson Amendment Statement
The Montana Nonprofit Association takes a stand for nonprofit integrity, and opposes attempts to politicize charitable nonprofits and foundations.
The Montana Nonprofit Association believes nonpartisanship is essential to the integrity of charitable nonprofits. Therefore we stand against the repeal of the so-called Johnson Amendment
, which was put in place by President Eisenhower, a Republican, in 1954. For sixty years this amendment has successfully protected charitable nonprofits, religious congregations, and foundations from being hounded by politicians, political operatives, and paid political consultants seeking political endorsements, financial contributions, and more.
Today the provision is being threatened by proposed legislation in Congress that seeks to completely repeal or substantially weaken it. Although couched as attempts to promote religious freedom and free speech, the legislative proposals would politicize charities, religious congregations, and foundations for the benefit of politicians and paid political consultants and erase the public’s high trust in the nonprofit sector.
Here is MNA’s message to those who would muddy the lines between charitable and political activity:
- Nonpartisanship upholds the integrity of the nonprofit brand. Keep the lines clean.
- These legislative proposals benefit politicians at the expense of constituents. Using tax deductible donations for political gain subsidizes political activity at the taxpayer's expense.
- There are other avenues for the select nonprofits that want to engage in political activity. Don't force the entire nonprofit sector to take a defensive posture against political maneuvering by compromising the current boundaries.
Many of us freely admit we’re tired of the political cacophony. And yet we are now on the verge of seeing these same contentious conversations and discord enter our nonprofit board rooms, constituent and donor relations, and institutional identities. Preserve the integrity of charitable nonprofits and the good name of the nonprofit sector by supporting the current tax-law that prohibits partisan political activity by charitable nonprofits.
Liz Moore, Executive Director
For additional information, including links to proposed legislation, go here