Document Type



Since 1954, there has been a prohibition on certain forms of intervention in political campaigns by entities exempt from taxation under section 501(c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code—including most. churches. This Article provides a historical perspective on the genesis of this prohibition—the 1954 U.S. Senate campaign of its sponsor, Lyndon Baines Johnson, and the involvement of religious entities and other 501 (c) (3) organizations in his political campaign. Although Johnson was not opposed to using churches to advance his own political interests, lie (lid seek to prevent ideological, tax-exempt organizations from funding McCarthyite candidates including his opponent in the Democratic primary, Dudley Dougherty. The illumination of these motivations is done through the extensive use of President Johnson's personal papers and provides a more complete understanding of the contours of the prohibition.