Repealing Johnson Amendment - Oligarchs Buying More Politicians

History helps get around the distractions - religious freedom, separation of church & state, non-profit tax exemptions - that keep us from seeing the hidden threat to our form of government.

“Far from wanting to keep politics out of the charitable realm, government’s primary concern in the era before our present federal tax code was keeping these voluntary associations out of politics. Both Presidents George Washington and James Madison saw private associations as posing an actual danger to popular government and to the country itself—special interests whose views, desires, and aims did not necessarily reflect the common good. The existence of these associations also seemed somehow incompatible with democratic institutions; many feared that as these groups grew in size and stature, they would attract both political power and financial resources, which could tip the balance of power in their favor to the detriment of individual citizens.”

These historic concerns have proven valid since, but laws were passed to push back.

In 1934, “Congress abolished the tax deduction for certain previously allowed philanthropic contributions, specifically those going to organizations where “a substantial part” of their activities consisted of “carrying on propaganda or otherwise attempting to influence legislation.” This effectively prevented any organization that wanted to maintain the deductibility of the contributions it received from engaging in direct political action.

Twenty years later, “Senate Majority Leader Lyndon B. Johnson offered his famous 31 words further limiting the activity of charitable organizations: ‘ … and which does not participate in, or intervene in (including the publishing or distributing of statements), any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for public office.’ ”

Getting rid of the Johnson Amendment is all about giving more “power and influence” to the oligarchs via non-profit organizations. The oligarchs are already “carrying on propaganda or otherwise attempting to influence legislation” via profit-based ‘persons.’ Eliminating the Johnson Amendment would expand the Citizens United decision to non-profits so more money will buy more politicians.


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