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Churches' Lobbying And Campaigning: A Proposed Statutory Safe Harbor For Internal Church Communications, Edward A. Zelinsky Jul 2017

Churches' Lobbying And Campaigning: A Proposed Statutory Safe Harbor For Internal Church Communications, Edward A. Zelinsky

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President Trump, reiterating the position he took during the presidential campaign, has recently reaffirmed his pledge to “get rid of and totally destroy the Johnson Amendment,” the provision of the Internal Revenue Code which prohibits tax-exempt institutions from participating in political campaigns. The Code also bars tax-exempt institutions, including churches, from substantial lobbying activities.

Rather than the blanket repeal of the Johnson Amendment proposed by President Trump, I argue for a statutory safe harbor for the internal communications of churches. This limited safe harbor would protect in-house church discussions from both Section 501(c)(3)’s ban on substantial lobbying and from that …