Advocacy Update: Nonprofit Nonpartisanship Preserved in Federal Spending Bill

March 22, 2018

Last night, the House and Senate Appropriations Committees released their omnibus spending bill to keep the government funded for the remainder of the fiscal year, which ends September 30, 2018. Absent from the 2,200+ page spending bill is a provision that would have repealed or weakend the Johnson Amendment, the part of the Internal Revenue Code that requires tax-exempt 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations to be nonpartisan. This is a significant victory for nonprofit organizations. Your advocacy helped make the difference! Thank you to everyone who took action to preserve the Johnson Amendment.

Your phone calls, emails, and tweets to Congress made it clear that nonprofit organizations strongly oppose the effort to undermine nonprofit nonpartisanship. Further, our members should take pride in knowing that their Washington Nonprofits membership amplifies our voice across the state. The broad spectrum of community-serving organizations that comprise our membership is what gives meaning to our advocacy and lobbying. If your organization is not a member yet, please consider joining us so that your voice will be included in our coalition.

We should all take a moment to savor this key policy victory. However, we need to continue advocating to elected officials, the public, and our peers about the Johnson Amendment’s value to our organizations. The Johnson Amendment shields us from partisan politics and enables us to keep our collective focus on our missions, rather than politicking. Weakening or repealing it would undermine the trust that we worked so hard to cultivate with the people we serve, those who support us, and our communities at-large.

In its analysis, the National Council of Nonprofits noted, “anti-Johnson Amendment language could resurface yet again in this spending bill (especially if there are delays in passage that open the door for further negotiations … ), in the fiscal year 2019 appropriations process this summer, or in other bills.” You can read their special “Johnson Amendment Update” edition of Nonprofit Advocacy Matters here.

As our state’s nonprofit association, Washington Nonprofits stands ready to advocate for nonpartisanship across Washington State and in Washington, DC. We will continue to provide opportunities for action and updates on this important issue. Until then, you can stay informed by subscribing to our Public Policy and Advocacy Updates; following us on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn; and participating in our quarterly Public Policy Calls.

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