Nonprofits are safe spaces in our communities, designed to be above the political fray. They also serve as "gap fillers," serving the communities that are neglected and ignored by the for profit and government spheres. Nonpartisanship allows us to focus on solving problems, helping our neighbors, enriching our communities, and it strengthens the public’s trust of the charitable community.
Nonpartisanship is under imminent threat. The longstanding legal protection (known as the Johnson Amendment) – which allows 501(c)(3) nonprofits to speak out on issues of the day and advocate on legislation, but prohibits supporting or opposing candidates for office is under imminent threat.
In recent weeks, the President vowed to “get rid of and totally destroy the Johnson Amendment.” The Chairman of the House Ways & Means Committee said he intends to repeal the law as part of comprehensive tax reform, and the House Majority Whip is a lead sponsor of one of the bills to weaken the protection. That legislation (H.R.781; S.264) would blur the current clear language that conditions tax-exempt status and the ability to receive tax-deductible donations in part on not engaging in partisan, election-related activities for or against candidates for public office.
Speak up now. The Wisconsin Nonprofits Association, together with the National Council of Nonprofits, our nationwide network, and nonprofits and foundations from across the country, have proudly signed onto a special Community Letter in Support of Nonpartisanship. We strongly urge your organization to join us by:
1. Signing the letter - join us and nearly 2000 nonprofits, foundations, and supporting businesses in signing the Community Letter by Monday, April 3 at 1:00 p.m. EST. This important document will show representatives the interest across the country on this important issue.
2. Sharing the letter broadly - Share with your board members, your colleagues at other organizations, and others in your networks who support preserving the protections in current law.
Together, we can protect nonprofit missions from the rancor of partisan politics.
Wisconsin Nonprofits Association