Is Trump Right about Free Speech of Non Profit Groups?

, Spencer Irvine, Leave a comment

John K. Wilson of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) noted that free speech for non-profit groups is the correct position made by President Donald Trump:

The Johnson Amendment has a severe impact on political speech. Earlier this year, when I was helping to organize one of the Writers Resist events held nationwide the week before Trump’s inauguration, I encountered that kind of fear from the national organizers of the movement: “We urge local organizers and speakers to avoid using the names of politicians or adopting ‘anti-’ language as the focus for their Writers Resist event. It’s important to ensure that nonprofit organizations, which are prohibited from political campaigning, will feel confident participating in and sponsoring these events.” When the Johnson Amendment can scare the politics out of an event that focused on speaking out against Trump’s policies, it shows how powerful this law is — and how destructive.

That is especially true on college campuses, where administrators are willing to violate the free speech of their students and faculty out of a misunderstanding of the Johnson Amendment. Invoking 501(c)(3)s has become the leading slogan for justifying censorship on campuses, despite numerous IRS and court rulings to the contrary. The Johnson Amendment is perhaps the most common justification for censoring political speech on college campuses.