Council for National Policy

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The Council for National Policy (CNP) is a secretive forum, which was first formed in 1981, for leading US conservative political leaders, financiers and religous right activist leaders to organize their respective agendas.

While those involved are from the United States, their organizations and influence cover the globe, both religiously and politically. Members include corporate executives, television evangelists, legislators, former military or high ranking government officers, leaders of 'think tanks' dedicated to molding society and those who many view as "Christian" leadership. Members in many cases are owners or leaders from industry such as lumber, oil, mining, commodities, real estate, the media, including owners of radio, television and print, with all aspects of life covered. Many are involved in education, determining to influence society's direction by direct input with children and youth.

In its 2002 Internal Revenue Service (IRS) return the CNP describes its activities and purpose as "Educational conferences for national leaders in the fields of business, government, religion and academia to explore national policy alternatives. Weekly newsletters are distributed to all members to keep them apprised of member activities and public policy issues. A semi-annual journal is produced from membership meeting speeches," it states .[1]

The CNP, which meets three times a year, gathered ahead of the 2004 Republican National Convention. "The real crux of this is that these are the genuine leaders of the Republican Party, but they certainly aren't going to be visible on television next week," the executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, Barry W. Lynn, told the New York Times.[2]

According to ABC News, "The CNP describes itself as a counterweight against liberal domination of the American agenda." [3]

More directly it has been described as "a highly secretive... a theocratic organization -- what they want is basically religious rule" (Mark Crispin Miller, A Patriot Act).

Contents

Background

One source, the CNP was formed in 1981 by Texas millionaires Nelson Bunker Hunt, William Herbert Hunt, and T. Cullen Davis.[4] A second source reports that it was formed by Richard Viguerie to rival the Council on Foreign Relations.[5] The council is composed of politically powerful, wealthy individuals. It intentionally maintains a very low profile. One of the conditions of membership is not to reveal the names of other members or the substance of the group's meetings. The CNP bills itself as being the "Council on Foreign Policy for the Right".[6] But, its importance does not lie in producing and promoting an ultra-conservative foreign policy agenda, as many of its affiliates already do that. It is considered by its members as a network that encompasses the entire spectrum of right-wing politics.[7] It provides a "safe" place for representatives of a wide range of ultra- conservative, anticommunist, pro-military organizations--including the executive branch of the White House--to discuss and promote their programs.

CNP members are found in Christian organizations encompassing James Dobson's Focus on the Family, Bill Bright's Campus Crusade for Christ and it's many branches, Robert Weiner's Maranatha shepherding group, Gideons, Youth for Christ, World Vision, Wycliffe Bible Translators, Billy Graham Evangelical Assoc., Intercessors for America, International Charismatic Bible Ministries, National Evangelical Assoc., National Religious Broadcasters Assoc., Promise Keepers and many more.

In-depth biographies of CNP founders and past/present officers and many members reveal that many are directly affiliated with or part of such organizations as the Knights of Malta, the Council on Foreign Relations, the Unification Church of Sun Myung Moon, the Church of Scientology, and other cults and organizations.

At the meetings, talks are given by government officials or key figures in current U.S. policy endeavors sometimes even foreign policy issues.[8] Adolfo Calero attended several meetings and spoke to the group about the Nicaraguan contra situation in 1984.[9] Col. Oliver North, adviser to the National Security Council and key figure in the Iran-Contra affair, spoke to the group several times before joining it as a member.[10]

The meetings are closed to the public and attendees rarely speak publicly about the proceedings. The agenda of a meeting at the Broadmoor in Colorado Springs in 1982 was filled with CNP members talking to the "already committed" about their favorite topics--Phyllis Schlafly on "traditional values", Maj. Gen. John Singlaub on special operations in El Salvador, Gen. Albion Knight on national defense, and so on.[11] The list of speakers includes most of the major figures of the Right including: Philip Truluck of the Heritage Foundation; Howard Phillips of the Conservative Caucus; beer baron Joseph Coors; conservative commentator and frequent Presidential candidate Patrick Buchanan; Frank Shakespeare, chairman of Heritage Foundation; direct mail wizard Richard Viguerie; Jerry Falwell of the Moral Majority; the president of Amway Corp, Richard DeVos; Neal Blair, president of Free the Eagle; John (Terry) Dolan, chairman of the National Conservative Political Action Committee, Jeane Kirkpatrick, then U.S. delegate to the United Nations; and from the Christian Broadcasting Network, evangelist Pat Robertson.[12] ..."

While many involved in the CNP have denied political activity in their respective organizations, the role of the CNP appears to be that of a policy and funding conduit for the Religious Right projects, both political and religious. Many would view many involved as representative of born-again Christians. However, one of the intents of the CNP seems to be that of appearing to be a mouthpiece of "true believers", while in reality pushing a decidedly secular political agenda yet claim, rather, to being conservative, holding 'traditional values' and family orientated. The CNP's strategy is distinctly based on many of the theories of the Strausian to propagate the idea of transforming the United States back to it's 'godly' heritage, its actions appear to be pushing a raw capitalist and expansionist policy coupled with an aggressive authoritarian approach to governance.

In the CNP Directories for 1984-1985 and also 1996, it is stated that: "The Council for National Policy is an educational foundation registered under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Donations to the CNP are tax-deductable as charitable contributions, less $10 per year for your subscription to Policy Counsel"

CNP Action, Inc., is a (501)(c)(4), a branch of the CNP, is exempt from taxes, but contributions to it are not deductible. CNP Action, Inc. can lobby and conduct other political activity, which means that one cannot say that the CNP merely meets to discuss problems of the day. They are there to provide united solutions to political agendas.. CNP members who lobby usually do so in their own name, or in the name of the organization they head. The newsletter of CNP Action, Inc., Capitol Hill Report, costs $300 a year and keeps members informed of needed action and political victories. From the now defunct Unofficial Council for National Policy web site, published by the Institute for First Amendment Studies:

CNP Action, Inc. also sponsors standing committee workshops at CNP conferences which provide a vehicle for members to work together to influence crucial public policy decisions. According to a CNP memo, attendees at these workshops "formulate strategies and execute plans to make a difference on the issues where we can have real impact."

The six permanent standing committees are:

According to that same source, the CNP Rules and Regulations are as follows:

"In order to "allow open, uninhibited remarks" from the speakers, CNP members must adhere to strict rules regarding the meetings. A memorandum from executive director Morton C. Blackwell listed the rules. They are:
  • Special guests may attend only with advance unanimous approval of the Executive Committee.
  • The solicitation of funds on a one-to-one basis is prohibited at meetings.
  • Council meetings are closed to the media and the general public. The media should not know when or where we meet or who takes part in our programs, before or after a meeting.
  • Speakers' remarks at Council meetings are off the record and not for circulation later, except with special permission.
  • Members and guests are requested to keep in their personal possession their registration packets and other materials distributed at the meeting.
  • Our membership list is strictly confidential and should not be shared outside the Council.
  • Fundraising from the list is also prohibited.
  • Members are asked to avoid organizing and attending formal meetings of other groups or organizations in the same city before, during or immediately after a Council meeting.

The CNP proper is composed of an Executive Committee with Officers, the Board of Governors, regular members and a separate Youth Council whose members must be under the age of 30. Membership does not come cheap, which fits with the financial status of those involved. The cost for regular members is $1500 per year, Board of Governors pay $5000 per year, and Youth Council members are required to pay $100 per year. According to their 1984-1985 Annual Directory, their Board of Governors meets about four times a year.

One doesn't ask to join the CNP. One must be recruited by a CNP member and is contingent on a unanimous vote by the Executive Committee. Referring to their Nomination Process, individuals must be nominated by a member, and it must be seconded in order to begin the process to be accepted into the group. A résumé or biographical information must be attached to the Nomination Form.

In the Post-nomination process, once the above requirements are met, the nominees names are placed on a ballot for a confidential vote by the CNP Executive Committee, which appears to be composed of thirteen or fourteen members, including the Officers. That vote must be unanimous for a nominee to be invited to membership.

Granted, there are most likely sincere Christians who have been invited to become a part of this ecumenical group. The lure of building a Theocracy, which many desire, is simply part of the deception. It's easy to sell the idea that uniting with various groups to find a common ground will result in turning a "morally deficient" society into a more "conservative minded" one.

Membership

"The media should not know when or where we meet or who takes part in our programs, before of after a meeting," the New York Times reported.[13]

Board of Directors

The 2002 calendar year Form 990 return filed with the IRS lists the board of Directors as:

Staff members of the Board of Directors are:

Other members

Council for National Policy membership roster, last updated July 2001.
Member Directory.

A copy of the membership roster obtained by Institute for First Amendment Studies, listed current and former members as including:

Other members who list their membership in their biographical profiles include:

Mark Crispin Miller adds the following members:

Addressed the CNP:

Funding

CNP is a 501c3 non-profit organisation. For the year ending December 31, 2002, CNP income was $1,240,377. [16].

According to Media Transparency between 1995 and 2002 the CNP received $125,000 (unadjusted for inflation) from the Richard and Helen DeVos Foundation and the Castle Rock Foundation. In 2000 the Castle Rock Foundation paid a membership fee of $10,000. [17]

The CNP also has a related 501c4 organisation CNP Action Inc.. CNP Action re-imbursed CNP $16,563 for the use of its facilities with and $39,457 of staff time.


Contact information

10329-A Democracy Lane
Fairfax, Virginia 22030
Phone: 703 890 0113

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