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Daily Action: Save the Johnson Amendment


CONTACT: 
Sen. Dianne Feinstein
DC: (202) 224-3841
LA: (310) 914-7300
Sen. Kamala Harris
DC: (202) 224-3553
LA:  (213) 894-5000
Rep. Julia Brownley: 
DC: (202) 225-5811
Thousand Oaks: (805) 379-1779
Rep. Ted Lieu:
DC: (202) 225-3976
LA: (323) 651-1040
Rep. Steve Knight:
DC: (202) 225-1956
Simi Valley: (805) 581-7130

Sample Script:
Hello, my name is __________, and I am a constituent of Senator/Representative ___________'s in _______________, California. I am calling to urge the senator/congressperson to oppose any version of the Republicans' tax cut measure that includes repealing the Johnson Amendment, as the current House version does. Tax-exempt churches have no business endorsing political candidates or making campaign contributions using parishioners' donations. In our current out-of-control campaign finance system, this measure would enable big-money donors to launder their campaign contributions through churches. Churches must not become a source of dark money. Thank you!


BACKGROUND (from 5 Calls)
Buried within the House GOP's 400+ page tax reform plan, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, is a provision that would allow the politicization of churches and other tax-exempt organizations. Currently, the 1954 Johnson Amendment prohibits tax-exempt nonprofit organizations and houses of worship from endorsing candidates or making campaign contributions. The House GOP tax plan rolls this back by permitting any tax-exempt nonprofit or religious entity to engage in political speech in their "ordinary course" of business with "de minimis" spending. For example, a televangelist could tell his followers to vote for a specific candidate during a regularly scheduled broadcast.

If implemented, this drastic change will likely not only seriously threaten the separation of Church and State but also allow individuals and big donors to skirt campaign finance laws by funneling tax-free donations to candidates by way of churches. Religious leaders and institutions (such as Joel Osteen and other wealthy megachurches) would become major money players in our government by serving as channels for dark money donations to political campaigns.

This provision is written with extremely vague terminology and would erode our ability to enforce the Johnson Amendment. It must be removed from any tax reform plan moving through Congress.