"Trump speaking at the Republican National Convention in 2016" by Voice of America is licensed under Public Domain

Once Again, House Republicans Are Trying to Repeal the Johnson Amendment

Dec 13, 2018

By Hemant Mehta

Republicans’ attempts to repeal the Johnson Amendment aren’t over yet.

For more than two years now, Donald Trump has promised the Religious Right that he would sign a repeal of the rule that forbids places of worship from endorsing political candidates if they want to keep their tax exempt status. If he were to rescind it, Christian churches would be one step closer to essentially becoming fundraising arms of the Republican Party. We have no idea how much dark money would start flowing to campaigns via churches when that day arrives.

Those efforts began right after Trump took office, when he signed an executive order claiming to repeal the rule… but it had no teeth. It was more of a performance than anything substantive.

Since then, Republicans have attempted to do the job legislatively by putting the repeal into various spending bills… to no avail. Last March, they tried to insert the repeal in an omnibus spending bill. But when the $1.3 trillion bill was finally released, the Johnson Amendment repeal wasn’t included. (More specifically, there was no language prohibiting the IRS from using its time and money to go after churches that violate the rule by telling the congregation who to vote for.) They tried again in July with an appropriations bill… and it failed again.

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