NY governor signs law restricting nonprofits from endorsing, opposing candidates

 NY governor signs law restricting nonprofits from endorsing, opposing candidates
© Getty Images

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) on Wednesday signed legislation barring nonprofits from either endorsing or formally coming out against political candidates.

The legislation codifies the Johnson Amendment, a federal provision in the U.S. tax code that bars nonprofits and religious organizations from making campaign donations or endorsements. President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden says GOP senators have called to congratulate him Biden: Trump attending inauguration is 'of consequence' to the country Biden says family will avoid business conflicts MORE has frequently expressed a desire to repeal the Johnson Amendment and signed an executive order loosening it in May 2017.


“For too long we have listened to the Trump administration threaten to remove common sense protections prohibiting tax exempt organizations from engaging in inappropriate political activities,” Cuomo said in a statement. “New Yorkers have a right to free and fair elections, and this law will further protect our democracy from unjustified interferences once and for all.”

Officials from Cuomo’s office said the law ensures the Johnson Amendment would still apply to nonprofits in the Empire State even if Congress repeals it.

The new state law follows a civil complaint in June 2018 by the New York Office of the Attorney General alleging the now-shuttered Donald J. Trump Foundation violated the Johnson Amendment. 

“The administration in Washington has repeatedly said they want to repeal these protections, and open the door for big-money donors to launder campaign contributions through churches, mosques, and synagogues,” state Sen. Liz Krueger (D-N.Y.), a sponsor of the new law, said in a statement.

“This would politicize nonprofits, undermining their focus on their primary missions, and damaging public trust in the nonprofit sector,” Krueger added.