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Americans for Prosperity Press Release

AFP Applauds Safeguarding Charity Act to Secure Constitutional Protections for Schools, Churches, and Charities

Jan 18, 2024 by AFP

ARLINGTON – Today Americans for Prosperity (AFP) commended the introduction of the Safeguarding Charity Act, by Florida Senator Marco Rubio and Florida Congressman Greg Steube. Recent judicial decisions threaten the First Amendment rights of nonprofit charities, subjecting them to oversight by federal bureaucrats and to costly litigation. The Safeguarding Charity Act will protect nonprofit organizations serving communities across our country by restoring the long-held understanding that the federal government does not have free reign to regulate every church, school, museum, and homeless shelter as if they are funded by the government itself. By protecting these organizations, the Act will ensure their staff, volunteers, and supporters can continue to address the needs of the communities they serve.

“Civic organizations like churches, schools, and charities are crucial to our communities,” said Sen. Rubio. “I remain concerned by recent court decisions that could subject these organizations to burdensome federal regulations simply because they are tax-exempt. My Safeguarding Charity Act would protect these organizations from the government’s politicized battles so they can continue their vital work in our communities.”

“Due to multiple, radical judicial decisions targeting religious schools, Congress must now codify that an organization holding tax-exempt status is not to be considered as a recipient of federal financial assistance,” said Rep. Steube. “The Safeguarding Charity Act will help prevent the weaponization of our judicial system against America’s houses of worship, religious schools, charities, and other non-profit organizations. These organizations should not be subjected to a series of laws and regulations triggered by receipt of federal financial assistance. I thank Americans for Prosperity for joining together with more than 20 impactful organizations in support of our legislation.”

Until very recently there has been little doubt that merely existing as a nonprofit charity is not the same thing as being a “recipient of federal financial assistance,” whose grants may carry additional strings. But recent court decisions risk subjecting all nonprofits to more complex and burdensome requirements, by redefining mere tax-exempt status as “federal financial assistance.”

The change threatens to bury non-profits – especially those who lack the resources or expertise to comply with complex and ever-changing rules – under red tape and litigation. These decisions would also threaten the religious freedom of churches, mosques, synagogues, religious schools and other faith-based charities by imposing on them new federal mandates that would violate their beliefs even when these religious nonprofits decline to take federal funds potentially impacting their ability to continue to serve our communities.

“Americans are the most charitable people in the world. The First Amendment protects our freedom to join together to solve problems in our communities,” said AFP Vice President of Legal and Judicial Strategy Casey Mattox. “The last thing the government should be doing is making it harder for people to help one another.”

Our nation has a long history of citizens putting their time and resources to work in their communities to build schools, churches, community centers, and other institutions that improve others’ lives. This deeply American tradition empowers individuals and builds strong communities. And this right to freely associate is protected under the first Amendment of the Constitution. Americans for Prosperity supports the citizens and policymakers working to ensure we continue this legacy for generations to come.

Check out AFP’s letter of support for the bill. And learn more about AFP’s work to hold government accountable and protect civil liberties for all Americans.

Through broad-based grassroots outreach, Americans for Prosperity is driving long-term solutions to the country’s biggest problems. AFP activists engage friends and neighbors on key issues and encourage them to take an active role in building a culture of mutual benefit, where people succeed by helping one another. AFP recruits and unites activists in all 50 states behind a common goal of advancing policies that will help people improve their lives. For more information, visit