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AHP Policy Update: Preserve the Johnson Amendment

  • 1.  AHP Policy Update: Preserve the Johnson Amendment

    Posted 04-18-2017 04:39 PM

    AHP believes that the Johnson Amendment is an important safeguard for the work of health care development professionals and should be preserved in its current form.

    We support the nearly 4,500 nonprofits who signed the Community Letter in Support of Nonpartisanship[1], as well as numerous other organizations who have recently stated that they oppose the repeal of the Johnson Amendment.

    Changes to, or even a repeal of, this legislation is on the table for several reasons. In February, at the National Prayer Breakfast, President Trump vowed to repeal the Johnson Amendment.[2] And currently, there are several proposed bills in Congress that would allow for various changes to the amendment, from allowing endorsement of political candidates to allowing deductions for political donations.[3]

    How will this affect you?

    The Johnson Amendment put into place legislation that states, "Under the Internal Revenue Code, all section 501(c)(3) organizations are absolutely prohibited from directly or indirectly participating in, or intervening in, any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elective public office."[4]

    Essentially, all nonprofit organizations under the current law must remain politically neutral. More than 1.2 million organizations would be affected if the amendment were repealed.

    Those who oppose the amendment point out that the current law may violate the right to free speech. AHP and many other nonprofit organizations believe that mandatory nonpartisanship maintains the integrity and credibility of the work of foundations and hospitals like yours.

    Repealing the Johnson Amendment threatens both fairness to donors, whose money may be used for political purposes with which they do not agree, and fairness of elections if tax-deductible donations can be used for partisan actions. The amendment allows for transparency in politics and fundraising.

    AHP will continue to work with partners in our sector to protect the Johnson Amendment and nonpartisanship in health care philanthropy.  

    [1] https://www.givevoice.org/sites/default/files/community-letter-in-support-of-nonpartisanship.pdf

    [2] https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-vows-to-totally-destroy-restrictions-on-churches-support-of-candidates/2017/02/02/fed9bad2-e981-11e6-bf6f-301b6b443624_story.html?utm_term=.a1a0a0a3ce99

    [3] https://www.councilofnonprofits.org/trends-policy-issues/protecting-nonprofit-nonpartisanship

    [4] https://www.irs.gov/charities-non-profits/charitable-organizations/the-restriction-of-political-campaign-intervention-by-section-501-c-3-tax-exempt-organizations

    Sarah Busching
    Comms Mgr
    Association for Healthcare Philanthropy
    Falls Church VA
    (703) 532-3514