— End Citizens United (@StopBigMoney) December 7, 2017
The 2016 presidential election brought the Johnson Amendment to the attention of many. The then-Republican presidential candidate and current President of the United States made repealing the Johnson Amendment his top campaign promise. The promise seemed not raise ripples as the implications of repealing the amendment did not seem to make much difference, especially to those who had never heard of it. The Johnson Amendment was passed in 1954 to prohibit tax-exempt nonprofit organizations including churches from campaign financing.
Conservative members of Congress are hell-bent on seeing Trump’s campaign promise through. The abolition of the Johnson amendment seems all the more likely now, prompting the End Citizens United to be up in arms in attempts to protect the amendment from the Conservative effort. The Republican Party tax plans include the decision to revoke the act.
The End Citizens United considers this to be a means through which illegal campaign funds will be channeled through churches. With a tax-exempt status, the institutions will have the unfair advantage of directing huge sums received as donations to political causes. To be precise, the nonprofit organizations will be used as avenues through which wealthy political financiers will channel undeclared campaign financing.
The End Citizens United has taken note of the way the Republicans are about the repeal. Instead of outrightly revoking the law, they are attaching several pieces of legislation to it. The House Financial Services Appropriations Bill, for instance, contained legal wordings and phrases whose result is weakening the Johnson Amendment. The tax bill made the law useless as it sought to forbid the Internal Revenue Service from using donations to investigate violations of the Johnson Amendment. This tactful approach is of cause supposed to avoid a lot of publicity.
The End Citizen United, a political action committee, formed in 2010 will now inevitably have to focus on protecting this law to safeguard campaign financing sanctity. The Citizens United decision of 2010 by the Supreme Court allowed corporations similar rights as individuals. Further still, the Supreme Court chose to interpret the first amendment rights to include political financing too. In other words, political funding is a means of free speech. To the founders of End Citizen United, the decision seemed to have upended all known rules that prevented dark money in political campaigns. It was now possible that illegal funds could be channeled through super PACs and other corporations.
The ECU wants the decision overturned through constitutional amendments in Congress. In this endeavor, the End Citizen United has opted to support several candidates to Congress. The candidates have to be pro campaign financing reform. The Johnson Amendment has been added to its list of priorities.