Trump Executive Order Will Encourage Some Religious & Charitable Groups to Flood Elections with More Secret Money

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  • David Vance
Statement by Common Cause President Karen Hobert Flynn

Today’s executive order is just an expansion of the disastrous Supreme Court Citizens United decision which opened the floodgates of secret money into our elections, taking the buying of influence from elected officials into the shadows and away from public view. By funneling their political spending through charities and religious groups, big money donors will also get a tax deduction, forcing other taxpayers to foot the bill for this subsidized political activity. Issued under the guise of “religious liberty” the order is yet another example of the President espousing discrimination and recklessly asserting that he is above the law. Instructing an independent federal agency to selectively enforce the ban on political advocacy by religious and charitable organizations, unanimously passed by the Senate more than 60 years ago, shows an utter disregard for the rule of law.

Additionally, this executive order paves the way for potential congressional repeal of the “Johnson amendment,” which could lead to hundreds of millions of dollars in secret political spending and add millions of dollars to the budget deficit. Earlier this year, approximately 4,500 charitable organizations, including 100 faith groups, sent a letter to the President and Congress opposing any efforts to weaken or repeal protections for religious and charitable organizations.