Top Republicans alongside extremists in secret right-wing group, leak reveals | Republicans

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A leaked document revealed the list of members of the Secret Council for National Policy (CNP), showing how it provides opportunities for elite Republicans, wealthy entrepreneurs, media owners and pillars of the American conservative movement to rub shoulders with anti -abortion and anti-. Islamic extremists.

The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), which monitors right-wing hate groups, describes the CNP as “an obscure and top-secret group. [which] operated behind the scenes “in an effort to” build the conservative movement. “

The leaked membership list dates back to September last year and reveals that the 40-year-old CNP has placed influential figures in the Trump administration alongside the heads of organizations categorized as hate groups.

The group was founded in 1981 by influential Christian right-wing activists, including Tim LaHaye, Howard Phillips and Paul Weyrich, who were also involved in founding and leading the Moral Majority. Initially, they sought to maximize their influence over the new Reagan administration. In the following years, PNC meetings have welcomed presidential contenders like George W Bush and 1999 and Mitt Romney in 2007, and sitting presidents including Donald Trump in 2020.

In videos obtained by the Washington Post in 2020, CNP executive committee chairman Bill Walton told contestants in upcoming elections: “This is a spiritual battle we’re in. It is good against evil.

The CNP is so secretive, according to reports, that its members are instructed not to reveal their affiliation or even name the group.

Heidi Beirich, of the Global Project Against Hate and Extremism, said in an email that “this new CNP list makes it clear that the group still serves as a key place where conservatives and extremists intermingle,” adding that the CNP “clearly remains a critical link. to integrate far-right extremism into conservative circles ”.

The document – which reveals the email addresses and phone numbers of most of the members – shows that the CNP includes members of hate groups listed by the SPLC.

They include leaders of organizations listed as anti-Muslim hate groups, including:

  • Frank Gaffney, Founder and Executive Chairman of the Center for Security Policy (CSP)

  • Brigitte Gabriel, Founder and President of Act For America (AFA)

They also include several founders or leaders of groups listed as anti-LGBTQ + hate groups, such as:

  • Michael P Farris, President and CEO of the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF)

  • Brad Dacus, Founder and President of the Pacific Justice Institute

  • Tony Perkins, President of the Family Research Council

  • Matthew Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel

  • Tim Wildmon, President of the American Family Association

Additionally, there are members of organizations listed as anti-immigrant hate groups, including James and Amapola Hansberger, co-founders of Legal Immigrants For America (Lifa).

In addition, the list includes members of groups who have been accused of extremist positions on abortion. Among them, Margaret H Hartshorn, president of the board of directors of Heartbeat International, which is said to have spread disinformation around the world among pregnant women.

Several prominent figures associated with the Trump administration, or conspiratorial figures in Trump’s orbit, are also on the list, such as Jerome R Corsi, who has written conspiracy books on John Kerry, Barack Obama and the terrorist attacks. September 11th. . Corsi is listed as a member of the board of directors of the CNP.

In addition to these representatives of extremist positions, the CNP’s lists include members of ostensibly more traditional conservative groups and representatives of large American corporations. Still others come from the Republican Party, a network of right-wing militant organizations, and the businesses and foundations that support them.

A newcomer to the group since an earlier version of the membership roster was released is Charlie Kirk, founder and chairman of Turning Point USA (TPUSA), a conservative youth organization.

Although TPUSA is working hard to make inroads into mainstream culture with stunts and campus events, Kirk has recently taken more radical positions, recently claiming that Democratic immigration policies are aimed at “shrinking and shrinking white demographics. in America, ”a day after Tucker Carlson aired racist“ big replacement ”conspiracy theories on his Fox News show.

Conservative heavyweights in the group include Lisa B Nelson, chief executive officer of the American Legislative Exchange Council; Eugène Mayer, president of the Federalist Society; Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform; Daniel Schneider, executive director of the American Conservative Union, which hosts the CPAC conference; and L Brent Bozell III, founder of the Media Research Center and a member of the Bozell and Buckley dynasties of conservative activists.

Other members include pillars of the Republican political establishment, including former GOP congressional majority leader Tom DeLay; former Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker; Reagan administration attorney general Edwin Meese III; and former RNC chairman and Trump’s White House chief of staff, Reince Priebus.

Their numbers also include sitting members of Congress like Barry Loudermilk and influential agents like David Trulio, who was the senior adviser and chief of staff to the Trump administration’s Under-Secretary of Defense.

The membership list also includes representatives from major US companies, such as Marc Johansen, vice president of Boeing’s satellite and intelligence program; Jeffrey Coors, of the Coors brewing family, which has largely sponsored conservative groups; Lee Roy Mitchell, founder and chairman of the board of directors of movie chain owner Cinemark Holdings; Steve Forbes, founder and CEO of the Forbes business media empire; and Scott Brown, senior vice president of Morgan Stanley.

Other members of the group represent organizations that operate under the veil of secrecy, with conservative “black money” organizations well represented.

One of the members, Lawson Bader, is the chairman of the Donor’s Trust and Donors Capital Fund, nonprofits that conceal the identities of their own donors and whose largesse to right-wing causes has described them as ” the conservative movement’s black-money automatic teller machine. ”.

Another member, Richard Graber, is the President and CEO of the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation. The Bradley Foundation has a long history of funding conservative causes, most notably the Donors Trust, and has also reportedly sponsored broad efforts to discredit Joe Biden’s election in 2020.

Also on the list are conservative media figures: Neil Patel, co-founder and editor of the Daily Caller; Larry Beasley, managing director of the right-wing Washington Times; and Floyd Brown, founder of the Arizona-based Western Journal and founder of the Citizens United Pac.

Pro-gun groups are also represented, with NRA chief executive Wayne LaPierre and Gun Owners of America founder Tim Macy, each registered as members.

The 220-page document – which includes a policy statement and an indication of members’ political interests as well as a full membership list – was leaked and provided to reporters through the transparency organization, Distributed Denial of Secrets.

Emma Best of this group said in an email conversation that the CNP is “a secret forum for ultra-wealthy and elite conservatives to strategize and form long-term plans that have national and international impact.” Therefore, she said, “any opportunity to highlight their members, activities and interests is clearly in the public interest”.

The Guardian has repeatedly requested comments from CNP staff, including executive director Brad McEwen, and other groups mentioned in this article, but received no immediate response..

This article was modified on September 30, 2021 because an earlier version incorrectly referred to Americans for Tax Reform as “Americans for Tax Return”.


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