The Johnson Amendment was put in place to ensure that non-profit organizations that are exempted from paying taxes do not take part in political campaigns. Republican leaders seem to be working towards watering down this amendment, which the president has already signed an executive order to that effect.
The End Citizens United believes that this move is bound to allow politicians to use churches for secret campaign spending. When Lyndon Johnson brought the amendment to the floor of the house in 1954, his clear message to the church was that they could only be tax-exempt if they steered clear of political activity.
Over the years, the integrity of the church has not been compromised by mega political donors as a result of this amendment. End Citizens United have made it clear through their president, Tiffany Muller, that they would not want more ways of buying democracy to be created.
The amendment hasn’t exclusively restricted tax-exempted organizations from weighing in on political issues. Churches have not had any problem with it as they can participate in political activities freely especially in holding voter registration drives.
The drivers of the motions seeking to weaken this amendment are looking to provide an avenue for tax-free money to be channeled to political causes. They have not targeted the Johnson Amendment directly due to the public outcry that this will apparently cause. Subtle legislations with clauses that undermine the amendment are being used instead.
Founded in 2015, End Citizens United has tried to overturn the 2010 Citizens United vs. FEC decision that created a lot of room for dark money to get into the campaign trail. This onslaught on the Johnson Amendment is a fight that they are taking in their stride.
This political action committee has unapologetically endorsed likeminded candidates including Elizabeth Warren, Maggie Hassan, Hillary Clinton, Jon Ossoff, Catherine Masto and Russ Feingold all in an attempt to straighten out the campaign finance system. They are raising funds in preparation for the next election cycle, and they have a target of $35 million. They have used their ‘Stop Big Money’ slogan on Twitter to make their agenda known while running campaigns through social media.
Enacting reforms in campaign finance is their primary agenda, and they seek to do this at the local and state level. Some non-partisan groups have weighed in on ECU activities, and they seem to agree that it is an uphill task. The pressure that PACs put on political players, as well as the Supreme Court, is all the same appreciated as it prevents things from getting worse.
Given that the political class hardly give up in having things go their way, End Citizens United still have a lot to do now and the many years to come. Support from other concerned parties will surely keep ECU at the top of their game. For more information visit:https://www.crunchbase.com/organization/end-citizens-united