Sunday, November 28

Top Republicans Rub elbows with Extremists in Secret Right-Wing Group, Leak Reveals | Republicans

A leaked document has revealed the list of members of the secretive National Policy Council (CNP), showing how it provides opportunities for elite Republicans, wealthy businessmen, media owners and mainstays of the conservative movement in the US. Islamic extremists.

The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), which oversees right-wing hate groups, describes the CNP as “a shadowy and intensely reserved group [which] he has operated behind the scenes ”in his efforts to“ build the conservative movement ”.

The leaked membership list dates back to September last year and reveals that the 40-year-old CNP put influential figures from the Trump administration alongside leaders of organizations that have been categorized as hate groups.

The group was founded in 1981 by influential activists on the Christian right, including Tim LaHaye, Howard Phillips, and Paul Weyrich, who had also been involved in founding and leading the Moral Majority. Initially they sought to maximize their influence in the new Reagan administration. In subsequent years, CNP meetings have hosted presidential hopefuls such as George W Bush in 1999 and Mitt Romney in 2007, and incumbent presidents, including Donald Trump, in 2020.

On videos obtained by the Washington Post In 2020, the chairman of the CNP executive committee, Bill Walton, told attendees of the upcoming elections: “We are in a spiritual battle. This is good versus evil.”

The CNP is so reservedIts members are reportedly instructed not to disclose their affiliation or even name the group.

Heidi Beirich, from the Global project against hate and extremism, said in an email that “this new CNP list makes clear that the group still serves as a key place where conservatives and mainstream extremists mingle,” adding that the CNP “clearly remains a critical nexus for the integration of far-right extremism in 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 included in the SPLC list.

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

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

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

They also include various founders or leaders of groups that are on the list of anti-LGBTQ + hate groups, such as:

  • Michael P Farris, President and CEO of 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 President 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 Immigration For America (Lifa).

In addition, the list includes members of groups that have been accused of extremist positions on abortion. They include Margaret H Hartshorn, Chairman of the Board of Heartbeat International, who has reportedly spreading misinformation around the world to pregnant women.

Several high-profile figures associated with the Trump administration, or conspiracy-minded characters in Trump’s orbit, are also on the list, such as Jerome R Corsi, who has written conspiracy-minded books on John Kerry, Barack Obama, and the attacks on the 11 of September. . Corsi is listed as a member of the CNP’s board of governors.

Along with these representatives of extremist positions, the CNP lists include members of apparently more mainstream conservative groups and representatives of major US corporations. Others still come from the Republican Party, a network of right-wing activist organizations, and the companies and foundations that back them.

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

Although TPUSA works hard to make inroads into mainstream culture with stunts and campus events, Kirk has recently flagged more far-right positions, recently saying that Democratic immigration policies were aimed at “shrinking and diminishing the white demographics in America. “, a day after Tucker Carlson aired racist” great replacement “conspiracy theories on his Fox News show.

Conservative heavyweights in the group include Lisa B Nelson, executive director of the American Legislative Exchange Council; Eugene Mayer, president of the Federalist Society; Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Return; Daniel Schneider, executive director of the Conservative Union of America, which organizes the CPac conference; and L Brent Bozell III, founder of the Center for Media Research and a member of the conservative activist Bozell and Buckley dynasties.

Other members include mainstays of the Republican political establishment, including former Republican Congressional Majority Leader Tom DeLay; former Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker; Reagan Administration Attorney General Edwin Meese III; and former RNC chairman and Trump White House chief of staff, Reince Priebus.

Their number also includes sitting congressmen like Barry Loudermilk and influential agents like David Trulio, who was a senior adviser and chief of staff to the undersecretary of defense in the Trump administration.

The membership list also includes representatives from major US corporations, such as Marc Johansen, Boeing’s vice president of satellites and intelligence program; Jeffrey Coors of the Coors Brewing Family, which has sponsored conservative groups extensively; Lee Roy Mitchell, founder and chairman of the board of directors of the owner of the film chain 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 operating under a veil of secrecy, with conservative “dark money” organizations well represented.

One member, Lawson Bader, is the president of Donor’s Trust and Donors Capital Fund, non-profit organizations that disguise the identities of their own donors, and whose generosity to right-wing causes has seen them. described as “the dark money ATM of the conservative movement.”

Another member, Richard Graber, is the president and CEO of the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation. The Bradley Foundation has long funded causes from conservative movements, including the Donors Trust, and has reportedly also sponsored widespread efforts to discredit Joe Biden’s election in 2020.

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

Pro-gun groups are also represented, with NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre and Gun Owners of America founder Tim Macy listed as members.

The 220-page document, which includes a statement of principles and an indication of the political interests of the members along with a full list of members, was leaked and made available to journalists through the transparency organization Distributed Denial of Secrets.

Emma Best of that group said in a messaging chat that the CNP was “a secret forum for ultra-wealthy and elite conservatives to strategize and form long-term plans that have a national and international impact.” Therefore, he said, “any opportunity to shed light on its members, activities and interests is clearly in the public interest.”

The Guardian repeatedly requested comment from CNP staff, including CEO Brad McEwen, and other groups mentioned in this story, but did not receive an immediate response..

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