As a part of the tax bill, Congress will be making big decisions about the future of the Johnson Amendment.
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BoardSource believes in the power of nonprofit engagement in policy advocacy, but has long stood against electioneering by 501(c)(3) nonprofits (read more here). That’s why we are a part of a large, sector-wide coalition seeking to protect the Johnson Amendment. We believe that allowing nonprofits to engage in electoral politics would politicize nonprofits in a way that will do irreparable harm to individual organizations and the sector as a whole.

The House version of the tax reform bill contains Section 5201, which would weaken the Johnson Amendment and would radically change the longstanding, vital protection for nonprofit nonpartisanship:

  • Section 5201 would allow political operatives to pressure organizations to endorse or oppose candidates.
  • It would allow donors to exert pressure by giving or threatening to withhold charitable contributions to force the organization 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. 

The Senate version of the tax reform bill does not contain this language, and the House and Senate are conferring this week the determine the final language for the tax reform bill. Your voice is needed today to ensure the provision from the House bill does not get adopted by the Conference Committee. 

BoardSource opposes weakening the Johnson Amendment and encourages everyone interested in preserving nonprofit nonpartisanship to contact your House and Senate representatives and ask them to strip Section 5201 from the final bill. 

Opportunities to learn more:


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