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May 4, 2017
Congressman Mark Meadows Chairman,
Subcommittee on Government Operations
U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Oversight & Government Reform
1024 Longworth House Office Building
United States House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515
Dear Chairman Meadows:
Thank you for holding a hearing on the important topic of Examining a Church’s Right to Free Speech. The freedom to advocate is a fundamental right for all 501(c)(3) organizations, including churches. Because this right to free speech is embedded in existing law, the North Carolina Center for Nonprofits calls on Congress to fully preserve the longstanding provision in 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code that strikes a perfect balance by enabling charitable nonprofits, religious institutions, and foundations to advocate while also protecting these organizations from the divisiveness and rancor of partisan politics that currently bedevils our country.
The North Carolina Center for Nonprofits – the largest sector-wide network of nonprofits in North Carolina, with nearly 1,500 active organizational members – is not alone in our firm opposition to any changes to this longstanding law. Last month, 396 organizations in North Carolina – charities, religious congregations, foundations, and others concerned about the health of the community, stood resolutely in opposition to changing the existing protection in Section 501(c)(3) sometimes called the “Johnson Amendment” (after then Senate Minority Leader Lyndon Johnson who offered an amendment adopted without opposition by the majority in the Senate and later passed by the Republican-controlled House and signed by President Eisenhower in 1954).