This bill would repeal the tax code’s prohibition against churches and other tax-exempt organizations participating in political campaigns or opposing candidates for public office that was imposed by the 1954 Johnson Amendment. It would apply to taxable years ending after this bill’s enactment, and wouldn’t invalidate or limit any provision of the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971.
What is House Bill H.R. 172?
Cost of House Bill H.R. 172
In-Depth: Sponsoring Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC) has been a longtime opponent of the Johnson Amendment, and has introduced legislation that would let churches and tax-exempt groups engage in political activities while remaining tax exempt since 2001. Jones feels “it’s kind of like big brother, listening to what the minister, or priest or rabbi might be saying” and believes his bill would “return freedom of speech to our nation’s houses of worship so that they may speak out on issues of the day without fear of reprisal from the IRS.”
Public Citizen produced a report detailing its opposition to efforts to undermine the Johnson Amendment, saying that it should remain in place to “protect against further erosion of our campaign finance system and to protect the integrity of our charitable and religious sectors.
This legislation has the support of one cosponsor in the House, Rep. Richard Hudson (R-NC).
Of Note: President Donald Trump said in a speech at the National Prayer Breakfast that he will “totally destroy” the Johnson Amendment, and took executive action to prevent the federal government from punishing churches for expressing political views.
- Sponsoring Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC)
- CBN News
- Council on Foundations
- McClatchy DC
- Weekly Standard (Previous Version)
- Americans United (Opposed)
- Public Citizen (Opposed)
- Oxford University Press (Partly Opposed)
Summary by Eric Revell(Photo Credit: Diliff / Creative Commons)
To restore the Free Speech and First Amendment rights of churches and exempt organizations by repealing the 1954 Johnson Amendment.
- Not enactedThe President has not signed this bill
- The senate has not voted
- The house has not voted
Committee on Ways and MeansIntroducedJanuary 3rd, 2017
- house Committees