Nonprofit community worries Congress could scrap 'crucial' finance law Trump falsely claimed he repealed

Nonprofit community worries Congress could scrap 'crucial' finance law Trump falsely claimed he repealed

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David L. Thompson, the vice president of public policy for the National Council of Nonprofits, told the Daily News he's troubled by Lankford's stance, calling the Johnson Amendment "crucial" for nonprofits that use it as a shield against political involvement.

"Currently politicians come to a nonprofit and say 'I want you to endorse me, and I'll reward you after the election,'" said Thompson, whose organization represents over 25,000 nonprofits across the country, including food banks, cultural organizations and charities. "We tell them, 'We are prohibited from endorsing because of the Johnson Amendment.' Take away that protection and we're subjected to the strong-arming of politicians and outrageous donor demands."

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Thompson said rescinding the Johnson Amendment would be a big price to pay to protect free speech since deep-pocketed political donors would as a result be able to funnel tax-exempt donations through charities.

"It would result in more dark money in politics that's also tax deductible," Thompson said. "That's bad."

Thompson also pointed out that last year, when Republicans unsuccessfully tried to include a Johnson Amendment repeal in the tax bill, the congressional Joint Committee on Taxation predicted the effort would cost taxpayers over $2 billion because political donors would likely shift their money to now-tax-exempt charities that would be able to engage politically.

In addition to the fiscal argument, Thompson said repealing the Johnson Amendment would result in a general "loss of trust in the nonprofit community" since it would open up the door for donors to make political demands.

"People come to us because they trust us," he said. "If they think it's politicized, they won't. Everything shouldn't have to be politics."

Source Name: 
New York Daily News
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