Johnson Amendment At Risk – End Citizens United Works To Protect It

With so much happening in the universe of politics in the United States, it’s easy for big stories to go unnoticed. While the general public seems to be more concerned about what the President is or not doing, the nation’s long history of the separation of church and state is more at risk than ever. Republicans are working tirelessly to revoke the 1954 Johnson Amendment. If they succeed with their plans, organizations such as churches, universities, and charities risk losing their tax-exempt status by participating in political campaigns.

Contrary to what many Americans were made to believe for many years, the Johnson Amendment doesn’t completely restrict the groups mentioned above from taking part in the nation’s politics. They are permitted to choose sides and even hold an event to support a candidate of their choice. Churches have always enjoyed certain privileges for being non-partisan, but the amendment signed into law by President Eisenhower is currently at risk.

The amendment was designed to protect these groups from being manipulated by covetous political donors. Unfortunately, the conservatives want to change that and give these people more ways to buy Americans’ democracy. If they succeed to repeal this amendment, it means that anyone can now donate money to tax-exempt groups for political reasons. The money donated is considered to be tax-exempt, so the donors can also receive tax deductions.

The Johnson Amendment was proposed and signed into law for good reasons, but in the recent years, it has become a political tool. In light of this, organizations have been formed with intentions of repealing the law. For example, a GOP organization called The Alliance Defending Freedom runs a campaign known as Pulpit Freedom Sounding that seeks to encourage religious leaders to protest and help in the process of repealing the amendment. IRS has audited one of the participating churches, but no one has been fined or charged with anything yet.

About End Citizens United

In 2015, End Citizens United was founded in direct response to the 2010 Citizens United decision. The group is determined to have as many right people elected to public office as possible. They are concerned about the politics of money which has corrupted the system of governance in the US.

Currently, more than 100 organizations have joined hands with ECU in the fight against the repeal of the Johnson Amendment. They have huge support in various social media networks including Facebook and Twitter. ECU understands that if the Republicans are left to have their way, it’s going to be hard to get America out of this problem. Visit:http://endcitizensunited.org/about/

 

End Citizens United Doubles Down on Defense of Johnson Amendment

The United States government has been under a systemic, financial attack by the elites in the country for almost a decade now. The root of this problem goes straight back to the 2010 Supreme Court decision which saw James Bopp and Citizens United argue for looser campaign restrictions. Bopp argued that corporations were essentially ‘people’ and that their ability to donate was just an extension of their freedom of speech. Of course, now it is clear to see what the ultimate endgame of Citizens United was: to flood politics with money from billionaires and millionaires who have a cause to rally behind. Nowadays, End Citizens United is a grassroots political action committee that has focused on introducing a constitutional amendment in order to undo the damage done by the Citizens United decision. Unfortunately, thanks to the election of Donald Trump this task may have just gotten harder.

Donald Trump rose to power on a populist message that thinly veiled his real goal, introducing more and more money into the political machine. Donald Trump took aim at the Johnson Amendment this past summer in order to get more money from the religious sector to flood into Washington D.C. The Johnson Amendment was introduced as the Johnson Act back in 1954 by Dwight Eisenhower and Lyndon B. Johnson. With bipartisan support, the Johnson Amendment helped to keep tax-exempt religious services from entering the political machine. The trade off was simple, if you don’t pay taxes then you need to keep your political messaging out of your halls. Despite having widespread support for decades, Trump decided to take aim at the amendment in order to throw a bone to his far-right religious base.

End Citizens United knows that repealing the Johnson Amendment will lead to a dramatic influx of millionaires into the political arena. Imagine mega-churches that are suddenly allowed to donate their congregational earnings straight into the coffers of far-right politicians. End Citizens United is a grassroots political action committee led by Tiffany Muller. Their goal over the past two years has been to address the prevalence of dark money and elite spenders in Washington D.C. When millionaires and billionaires get to control politicians, the average American will end up losing.

According to a Pew Research poll nearly 66% of Americans are uncomfortable with the idea of letting the church impact the United States government. Still, the other third of respondents are vocal and on board with Trump’s bloviating and posturing surrounding the Johnson Amendment. Now, End Citizens United is engaging in a coordinated effort to bring awareness to the disastrous idea of repealing the Johnson Amendment. Progressives and moderates around the country will need to coalesce around this message in order to make it effective.

Read more: https://www.crunchbase.com/organization/end-citizens-united

 

George Soros Resisting Trump

George Soros has a long history of supporting progressive causes. Soros fled Hungary in 1946 and ultimately ended up in the United States. Once stateside, Soros established himself as a successful hedge fund manager. This history as an immigrant and successful entrepreneur has led Soros to believe in a society that helps it’s most vulnerable to succeed in the face of adversity. This has led Soros to regularly support politicians that help those living in poverty. Soros’ activism and philanthropy reflect a belief that success accompanies responsibility. It is because of this outlook that Soros has a continued interest in government policies that lessen wealth inequality and its effects, reduce global violence, and protect the environment from destruction. Read this story at Politico.com about George Soros.

Soros’ commitment to progressivism has led him to support major nominees from the Democratic Party, including Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. He has allied himself with leaders of the Democratic Party and continues to use his influence and resources to push for the success of the party. Notably this has manifested in George Soros’ creation of the Democracy Alliance in 2004, a group that brings together donors and key liberal leaders. The Alliance has been a means through which Soros and other donors can channel funds into the Democratic Party. The DA has been a key factor in counteracting the large amount of money regularly raised by Republican politicians.

Read more about George at The New York Times.

Soros and the DA met recently to reaffirm its resistance to the Donald Trump’s presidency. Kenneth P. Vogel, writing for Politico, outlines some of the objectives of the DA following Trump’s victory in November. Under direction from the DA the Democratic Party focused on an increasingly diverse electorate. This was not enough to counteract the role of the white working class in November’s election. Soros’ meeting with the DA in November brought with it references to Soros’ own background dealing with communism and Nazism in Hungary, prior to his immigration to the United States and much of his focus on progressivism stems from these experiences.

Learn more: http://www.biography.com/people/george-soros-20926527

End Citizens United Is Completely Focused On Its Cause

End Citizens United, a political action committee, has managed to raise nearly $2 million so far. This has come mainly from the small donors. This indicates how focused this group is. They have plans for getting between $25 million and $30 million during this entire cycle.

 

End Citizens United is focused on getting a constitutional amendment passed. This will reverse the Supreme Court’s decision regarding Citizens United. It was passed in 2010. This had given rise to super PACs, and there was a tidal flow of dark money into politics.

 

Today End Citizens United has 325,000 signatures of people on its petition. It is demanding that Congress should pass this legislation. But End Citizens United is not resting at this number alone. They are focused and quite clear that they should boost this number.

 

They are trying a number of ways to achieve this. One of them is their partnering with the campaign, “Ready for Hillary.” On its front, End Citizens United is going to rent out its email list to them. It has over 4 million people. Now this list can be used for reaching out to the potential liberal supporters. Hence it will be working both ways for the involved parties.

 

End Citizens United is going to endorse 11 Democratic candidates. These will include two former Senates too. These are Sen. Russ Feingold of Wisconsin along with Sen. Michael Bennet of Colorado.

 

One thing to note here is that End Citizens United is one among many PAC that are campaigning finance reform. It is important to listen to their communications director, Carbo in order to understand why End Citizens United is different. They are also looking at the political aspect here.

 

End Citizens United is trying to help people to get elected. This way those people will come in power who would like to change the existing law. Thus the group is backing all those candidates who favor campaign finance reform. These persons would be able to stand up against the Citizens United.

 

End Citizens United is also supporting those candidates who are under attack by the billionaire conservatives like the Koch brothers besides other black-money groups like them.

 

This is not an easy issue. Any constitutional amendment is an uphill task. A fact needs to be remembered that no Constitutional amendment has been passed in America since 1992.

 

But groups like End Citizens United are doing a number of other good things too. They are keeping the public aware of all the decisions that are being taken by the Supreme Court. They keep political pressure on the Supreme Court so that things do not worsen any further. And such a huge amount of money will definitely impact the House race.