Venable partner John Cooney was quoted in a May 8, 2017, article in The NonProfit Times on President Donald Trump's religious freedom executive order. The order states that the IRS will not take adverse action against charity organization speaking out on moral or political issues from a religious perspective. It is debatable what impact the order will have on existing regulations since regulations prohibiting charities from directly endorsing candidates and electioneering are rarely enforced.
"All administrations use executive orders when they think it would serve the purpose a president has in mind," said Cooney. "This is just a policy preference but that doesn't mean that it doesn't have an impact on the calculus of an agency…All administrations have done this when they want to announce their policies publicly." He noted that it is the most formal approach a president can take because it is covered by the press and published in the Federal Register. He also said the same information could have been passed along to agency heads quietly by the president or his staff. "That kind of communication is more typical."