Trump’s pledge to allow churches to support candidates may be part of tax bill
The plan would repeal the “Johnson amendment” as part of broader tax reform legislation.
Let me explain why repeal of the Johnson Amendment is a horrible idea… and not just because pastors could then blatantly tell their congregations who to vote for without losing their tax exempt status.
* All 501(c)(3) non-profit groups (not just religious organizations) are prohibited from endorsing or opposing political candidates
* Unlike other 501(c)(3) non-profit groups the IRS does not require financial disclosures from churches
* Without the amendment in place, a church could pass the offering plate in support of a campaign, invite one candidate for elected office to speak at a church service but not their opponent, and receive donations in return for political endorsements. Because the IRS does not require financial disclosures from churches, all of the examples above would happen without transparency and public knowledge.
Because churches, unlike other non-profits, get the unique privilege of not having to disclose their finances, they would effectively become political tools (even more than they unofficially are right now).