The time for advocacy is now. The nonprofit sector will be adversely affected by many of the provisions in the tax reform bill currently working its way through Congress, but there is one provision in particular that is extremely concerning and where you have a chance to influence the outcome.
Can you advocate? Yes, you can!! We know that many nonprofits are uncertain about whether they can engage in activities like this. In this case, nonprofit boards, staff, and other supporters can make these calls because there is a provision for nonprofit organizations to lobby in cases of self-defense for the organization. Read on to learn how you can use 5 minutes to be heard today.
The House and Senate tax reform bills are currently in Conference Committee, which is where the two versions will be reconciled. Section 5201 of the House-passed bill would radically change the longstanding, vital protection in law for nonpartisanship of charitable, religious, and philanthropic organizations, known as the Johnson Amendment. Section 5201 would allow political operatives to pressure those organizations to endorse or oppose candidates for public office, and powerful donors to exert even more pressure by giving or threatening to withhold charitable contributions to get the organizations to endorse or oppose candidates the donors prefer. The proposed change would also make political donations – for the first time ever – tax-deductible when funneled through charitable nonprofits, houses of worship, and foundations.
Washington State can make a difference! Senators Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray have been named as conferees for the Conference Committee that will work to reconcile the House and Senate tax bills. This is a key opportunity for our state’s nonprofit community to stand up for nonpartisanship in our sector. Because of this, we need you to take these actions immediately:
Step 1: Call our Senators’ offices and deliver this message:
“I’m a constituent and I’m calling in opposition to a very harmful provision in the House tax bill that would weaken the Johnson Amendment and politicize charitable nonprofits, houses of worship, and foundations against our wishes. The harmful provision is Section 5201 of the House-passed tax bill that is now in the conference committee. It is imperative that Senator [NAME] reach out to her Republican and Democratic colleagues on the conference committee and tell them the Johnson Amendment language in the House bill must be stripped from the final bill. Thank you.”
Senator Maria Cantwell: (202) 224-3441
Senator Patty Murray: (202) 224-2621
Step 2: Send this tweet:
Section 5201 of the House #taxreform bill harms #nonprofits serving communities & people in WA. @SenatorCantwell @PattyMurray please work with the Conference Committee to strike Section 5201 so that nonprofits can focus on mission, not partisan politics. #JohnsonAmendment
Step 3: Share this message with your network! Now is the time for everyone to call and tweet to defend our sector.