Monthly Newsletters

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Public Policy Alerts

When policy changes occur, Washington Nonprofits sends policy alerts with education and action information relevant to nonprofits.

WASHINGTON NONPROFITS ACTION ALERT
House Committee Votes to Politicize Nonprofits—More Action Needed
Nonprofit nonpartisanship – protected by the Johnson Amendment – is under imminent threat in Congress. Each of us needs to take action to protect our organizations from the damaging influence of partisanship.

We asked you to do this back in March, and many of you responded.  Now we are looking to increase the number of signers by several thousand organizations nationally by August 4, so we can share our concerns with Congress during the August recess.  Please join us or consider encouraging other organizations in your network to sign on.

More on What is Happening in Washington, DC, and Why this Action is Needed

Last week, the U.S. House Appropriations Committee approved a spending bill for fiscal year 2018 that includes an extraneous rider (Section 116) that would essentially give churches and their auxiliaries a free pass for violating the law that prevents charitable nonprofits, including churches and foundations, from endorsing or opposing candidates or diverting nonprofit assets to fund political campaigns. If enacted, the provision would damage public trust in all charitable nonprofits as one segment of the community, perhaps even just a few churches, invite partisan politics into the sector. Learn more about the rider here.

The rider approved on the appropriations bill and several other legislative challenges seek to weaken or repeal the Johnson Amendment that protects all 501(c)(3) organizations from being polarized and diverted from their proper missions by the manipulative pressures of partisan politics.  The broad nonprofit community opposes changes to the Johnson Amendment, as expressed by nearly one hundred religious denominations and organizations, more than 3,000 religious leaders89 percent of evangelical pastors, more than 4,800 charitable nonprofits, houses of worship, and foundations, and 72 percent of American voters.

Nonprofits are safe spaces in our communities, designed to be above the political fray. Preventing the application of party labels allows us to focus on solving problems, helping our neighbors, and enriching our communities. Nonpartisan credibility is critical to the ability of 501(c)(3) organizations to work with elected officials of all parties at the local, state, and federal levels to address community needs. Keeping this protection in place is essential to nonprofit missions.

TAKE ACTION
Washington Nonprofits has proudly signed onto the Community Letter in Support of Nonpartisanship. This letter was delivered to Members of Congress before the President issued an Executive Order on the Johnson Amendment and before the House Appropriations Committee approved the damaging rider that blocks enforcement for some nonprofits. The letter is once again open for signatures in order to show Representatives and Senators that charitable nonprofits, foundations, and our many supporters are united in opposition to efforts to politicize our community. Here’s what you can do:

  • Sign your organization onto the Community Letter in Support of Nonpartisanship … AND
  • Share the letter broadly with your board members, your colleagues at other organizations, and others in your networks so they can join in this vital effort to preserve the protections in current law.

Together, we can protect nonprofit missions from the rancor of partisan politics. Thank you for taking action!

More Take Action– If you are in the 3rd, 4th, or 6th Congressional District, call or email your representative and tell him/her to strip the Johnson Amendment language in Section 116 from the Financial Services appropriations bill. Let’s help to keep nonprofits nonpartisan!

Jamie Herrera Beutler (R – 3rd District) 202-225-3536
Derek Kilmer (D – 6th District) 202-225-5916
Dan Newhouse (R – 4th District) 202-225-5816

If you live in their districts, we encourage you to call or email with the following message:

“Dear Representative,
I’m your constituent, and I ask that you act to strip the Johnson Amendment language in Section 116 from the Financial Services appropriations bill.”

For more information on how to support nonprofit nonpartisanship click here.

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