Executive Order Takes Aim at Johnson Amendment

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Air date: 
Thu, 05/04/2017 - 5:00pm to 5:15pm
Johnson Amendment
Trump Directs IRS to Not Enforce Rule that Keeps Religion Out of Politics


Today is the National Day of Prayer in the US, and the president marked the occasion by releasing an executive order that aims to weaken a longstanding law against politicking by religious groups. The so-called Johnson Amendment—named after then-Senator Lyndon Johnson—prohibits direct political activity by 501(c)3 organizations, including churches, nonprofit charities, and many institutions of higher learning.

On the campaign trail, Trump vowed to “totally destroy” the law, a promise that won him lots of support from evangelical Christians.

The executive order does not do that, but still has advocates for fair elections worried. One group, the D.C. watchdog Public Citizen, announced its intention to take a repeal order to court. In the wake of the Executive Order, which is much weaker than expected, they are holding off on a lawsuit as of air time on May 4.

KBOO reporter Sam Bouman spoke with Emily Peterson-Cassin, director of the Bright Lines Project at Public Citizen, for more.

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