Public Citizen -Five groups aiming to knock down the wall between religious institutions and politics have spent $24 million to influence elections since 2006.
These groups are part of a concerted movement on the right seeking to chip away at the Johnson Amendment, named after President Lyndon B. Johnson. This 1954 law prohibits groups registered under Section 501(c)(3) of the tax code, which include charities and religious organizations, from engaging in activities to influence elections. These organizations may receive tax-deductible contributions and are not required to disclose their donors. This provision ensures that the groups remain committed to their charitable and spiritual missions and are not vulnerable to outside partisan manipulation.
The law gained national prominence in early February when President Donald Trump promised to “totally destroy the Johnson Amendment and allow our representatives of faith to speak freely.”
Other proposals appear to be less drastic than Trump’s and suggest a desire to allow pastors merely to talk to their parishioners on political issues. But they contain loopholes that would allow churches to engage in extensive political activities, further eroding the campaign finance system,.