EFFORTS BY END CITIZENS UNITED TO SAVE THE JOHNSON AMENDMENT

End Citizens United, a Political Action Committee financed by grassroots donors, was founded on March 1, 2015. The purpose of its formation was driven by the Supreme Court’s judgment in Citizens United versus Federal Election Commission that changed the background of America’s elections. It led to billionaires and other special interest organizations taking advantage of their status to rig elections in their favor. By electing campaign finance reform people, endorsing state ballot measures and raise the issue in national conversation, End Citizens United plans to rectify their political system.

Lyndon Johnson became president of US when his forerunner, John Kennedy was murdered. As a senator, he endorsed a bill called Johnson Amendment, passed in 1954, that hindered the spending of church money in politics. At the time, it was never threatened but things have since changed and churches, together with the rest of the tax- exempt non- profit institutions are faced with the possible challenge of beginning to donate funds to political activities and candidates they support. The End Citizens United has taken upon itself to protect the Johnson Amendment.

On November 2, 2017, End Citizens United asked the leadership to prevent the repealing actions of Johnson Amendment. They term it as another plan of rigging by the billionaires. The public is unaware of what is going on due to the ongoing chaos in the current administration with an inclusion of the investigations into treason with Russia.

The Supreme Court judgment in 2010 is however viewed as the bigger disaster. This is because it brought down most of the regulations that were put in place to ensure a fair political campaign. The End Citizen United was formed to offer support to people who fight Citizens United and since the efforts to repeal the Johnson Amendment has been viewed as a plot by Citizens United, the organization has been working to stop it.

Americans are worried that if the Johnson Amendment is repealed, they would no longer have the knowledge of how the money they contribute to churches is utilized.

Whenever the Johnson Amendment is violated by any 501(c) (3) organization, their status as a tax-exempt is revoked by the IRS. Such cases are not common but a good example is that of a church that opposed the election of Bill Clinton and even went ahead to pull down a whole page ad in USA Today. Though offenders of the Johnson Amendment have been punished, there has been a deterioration in its enforcement lately.

Participation of End Citizen United in the fight against repealing of Johnson Amendment is important because it maintains the separation of the church and state affairs. If the repealing is a success, then the matter will be brought to the Supreme Court and due to the recent addition of a conservative to the court, not forgetting the ruling in 2010, there is no guarantee that the ruling will be positive. For more information on end citizens united visit https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2016/04/how-to-reverse-citizens-united/471504/