Published On: Sat, Feb 4th, 2017

Oklahoma Senator James Lankford introduces the Free Speech Fairness Act

Senator James Lankford (R-OK) introduced this week the Free Speech Fairness Act (S.264), a bill that gives nonprofits and houses of worship the freedom to speak about government or electoral activity without the threat of retribution from the Internal Revenue Service.

Image/US Congress

Specifically, the Free Speech Fairness Act addresses the shortcomings of the Johnson Amendment, which in 1954 was inserted into the Tax Code by then-Senator Lyndon Johnson. The Johnson Amendment prohibits nonprofits and churches from engaging in any activity that might be interpreted as participating in, or intervening in a campaign on behalf of, or in opposition to, a candidate for public office, including a simple oral or written statement. During the 2016 presidential campaign, President Trump frequently expressed his desire to fix the Johnson Amendment.

“The federal government and the IRS should never have the ability to inhibit free speech,” said Lankford. “The Free Speech Fairness Act is needed to prevent government intrusion and suppression of free speech by removing a restriction on speech that has existed since 1954. The First Amendment right of free speech and right to practice any faith, or no faith, are foundational American values that must extend to everyone, whether they are a pastor, social worker or any charity employee or volunteer. People who work for a nonprofit still have constitutional rights to assembly, free speech, and free press.”

This bill applies to all entities organized and operating under section 501(c)(3) of the Tax Code. But this legislation would not turn nonprofits and churches into political action committees. The legislation is specifically crafted to maintain the prohibition against 501(c)(3) organizations contributing money to candidates or campaigns.

Lankford introduced the bill at a press conference today with House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA), sponsor of the House bill, and a group of faith leaders and nonprofit workers. Lankford is co-chair of the Congressional Prayer Caucus, which protects the right of Americans to pray and practice their faith freely, no matter what their faith is.


On the DISPATCH: Headlines  Local  Opinion

Subscribe to Weekly Newsletter

* indicates required

About the Author

- The generic Dispatch designation, used primarily for press releases or syndicated content, but may be used for guest author requesting a generic nomenclature

Displaying 2 Comments
Have Your Say
  1. Senator Langford,
    Why has no state senator, state representative, U.S. Senator or Representative worked to make life easier for juvenile offenders? The juvenile justice system in the United States is lousy. We need to make changes.
    Janet Carpenter

  2. Anonymous says:

    Senator Lankford, why have we not imposed impeachment charges on President Biden????? Pick a VOW OF OFFICE THAT HE HAS BROKEN. His latest BORDER POLICY STATEMENT (2/1/2023) leaves a WHOLE OF ROOM for him being removed from Office. If his name was TRUMP, all h— would being raised. Correct if I’m wrong but when the Dem’s controlled the House they had TWO impeachment Charges on President Trump. James A. King
    27352 E. 750 RD Wagoner, OK 74467

Leave a comment

XHTML: You can use these html tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>



The Global Dispatch Facebook page- click here

Movie News Facebook page - click here

Television News Facebook page - click here

Weird News Facebook page - click here