UK media has reported on a leaked document that identifies the membership of the Council for National Policy (CNP), described as a secretive group that provides opportunities for top US Republicans and other conservatives to mix with a wide variety of anti-abortion and anti-Islamic extremists. According to The Guardian report:
A leaked document has revealed the membership list of the secretive Council for National Policy (CNP), showing how it provides opportunities for elite Republicans, wealthy entrepreneurs, media proprietors and pillars of the US conservative movement to rub shoulders with anti-abortion and anti-Islamic extremists. In deep red West Virginia, Biden’s $3. 5tn spending proposal is immensely popular Read more The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), which monitors rightwing hate groups, describes the CNP as “a shadowy and intensely secretive group [which] has operated behind the scenes” in its efforts to “build the conservative movement”. The leaked membership list dates from September last year, and reveals the 40-year-old CNP put influential Trump administration figures alongside leaders of organizations that have been categorized as hate groups. Advertisement The group was founded in 1981 by activists influential in 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 were seeking to maximize their influence on the new Reagan administration. In subsequent years, CNP meetings have played host to presidential aspirants like George W Bush in 1999 and Mitt Romney in 2007, and sitting presidents including Donald Trump in 2020. In videos obtained by the Washington Post in 2020, the CNP executive committee chairman, Bill Walton, told attendees of the upcoming election: “This is a spiritual battle we are in. This is good versus 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 clear that the group still serves as a key venue where mainstream conservatives and extremists mix”, adding that CNP “clearly remains a critical nexus for mainstreaming extremism from the far right into conservative circles”. The document – which reveals email addresses and phone numbers for most members – shows that the CNP includes members of SPLC-listed hate groups.
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The Global Influence Operations Report (GIOR) first reported on the CNP in June 2021 when we featured a Southern Poverty Law Center report on the group. As we noted in our report, our predecessor publication covered a close associate of anti-Muslim figure Frank Gaffney, one of the CNP members identified in the Guardian.