Council for National Policy
The Council for National Policy (CNP), is an umbrella organization and networking group for social conservative activists in the United States. It has been described by The New York Times as a "little-known group of a few hundred of the most powerful conservatives in the country," who meet three times yearly behind closed doors at undisclosed locations for a confidential conference. Nation magazine has called it a secretive organization that "networks wealthy right-wing donors together with top conservative operatives to plan long-term movement strategy." It was founded in 1981 by Tim LaHaye as a forum for conservative Christians seeking to strengthen the political right in the United States.
The CNP describes itself as "an educational foundation organized under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. We do not lobby Congress, support candidates, or issue public policy statements on controversial issues. Our over 600 members include many of our nation's leaders from the fields of government, business, the media, religion, and the professions. Our members are united in their belief in a free enterprise system, a strong national defense, and support for traditional western values. They meet to share the best information available on national and world problems, know one another on a personal basis, and collaborate in achieving their shared goals."
Meetings and membership 
Marc J. Ambinder of ABC News said about the Council: "The group wants to be the conservative version of the Council on Foreign Relations." The CNP was founded in 1981. Among its founding members were: Tim LaHaye, then the head of the Moral Majority, Nelson Bunker Hunt, T. Cullen Davis, William Cies, and Paul Weyrich.
Members of the CNP have included: General John Singlaub, shipping magnate J. Peter Grace, Edwin J. Feulner Jr of the Heritage Foundation, Rev. Pat Robertson of the Christian Broadcasting Network, Jerry Falwell, Senator Trent Lott, Southern Baptist Convention activists and retired Texas Court of Appeals Judge Paul Pressler, and the Rev. Paige Patterson , Senator Don Nickles, former United States Attorneys General Ed Meese and John Ashcroft, gun-rights activist Larry Pratt, Col. Oliver North, and philanthropist Else Prince, mother of Erik Prince, the founder of the Blackwater private security firm.
Membership is by invitation only. The membership list, previously made public, is now "strictly confidential." Guests may attend "only with the unanimous approval of the executive committee." Members are instructed not to refer to the organization by name, to protect against leaks. New York Times political writer David D. Kirkpatrick suggested that the secrecy since its founding was intended to insulate the Council from the "liberal bias of the news media".
CNP's meetings are closed to the general public, reportedly to allow for a free-flowing exchange of ideas. The group meets three times per year. This policy is said to be similar to the long-held policy of the Council on Foreign Relations, to which the CNP has at times been compared. CNP's 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status was revoked by the IRS in 1992 on grounds that it was not an organization run for the public benefit. The group successfully challenged this ruling in federal court. A quarterly journal aimed at educating the public, promised in the wake of this incident, has not substantially materialized. The group has launched a website that contains selected speeches from past gatherings.
While those involved are almost entirely from the United States, their organizations and influence cover the globe, both religiously and politically. Members include corporate executives, legislators former high ranking government officers, leaders of 'think tanks' dedicated to molding society and those whom many view as "Christian leadership".
Conferences and political plans 
Leading members of the CNP voted in a meeting at the Grand America Hotel in Salt Lake City, on September 29, 2007, to consider launching a third party candidate if the 2008 Republican nominee is a pro-choice candidate. (This was an implicit reference to Rudy Giuliani, whose liberal opinions on several social issues, such as abortion, gay rights and gun ownership have disturbed the Christian right.) The CNP's statement read, "If the Republican Party nominates a pro-abortion candidate, we will consider running a third-party candidate." Attending the meeting were notable social conservatives, including James Dobson, Richard Viguerie, Tony Perkins and Morton Blackwell.
CNP members have taken millions of dollars from Rev. Sun Myung Moon, the founder of the Unification Church and the conservative Washington Times newspaper, and are aligned with various other groups supported by him such as CAUSA International. Moon's religious message places him as superior to Jesus Christ. Moon was crowned "King of Peace" in a ceremony in the United States Senate Office Building, (not before the actual United States Senate). CNP members have also supported legislation proposed by the Church of Scientology.
CNP also has membership links to the World Anti-Communist League, whose many other members included, among others, the Unification Church and backers of rightist paramilitary death squads in Latin America, particularly during the 1980s.
In 1999, a speech given to the CNP by Republican candidate George W. Bush is credited with helping him gain the support of conservatives in his successful bid for the United States Presidency in 2000. The content of the speech has never been released by the CNP or by Bush.
As of February 2007, the organization was planning involvement in the 2008 presidential election campaign, and actively looking for a candidate to represent their views. U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney and former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney spoke at a four day conference they held in Salt Lake City, Utah during the last week of September 2007. The Council for National Policy scheduled a conference in late October 2007. Most Republican presidential candidates pledged to appear, with the exception of Rudy Giuliani.
CNP was founded in 1981 by fundamental Baptist pastor Tim LaHaye, author of The Battle for the Mind (1980) and the Left Behind series of books. Other early participants included Cleon Skousen, a prominent Mormon theologian and founder of the Freemen Institute; Paul Weyrich; Phyllis Schlafly; Robert Grant; Howard Phillips, a former Republican affiliated with the Constitution Party; Richard Viguerie, the direct-mail specialist; and Morton Blackwell, a Louisiana and Virginia activist who is considered a specialist on the rules of the Republican Party.
The council employs about eight people. Its first executive director was Woody Jenkins; later, Morton Blackwell served in this role, which is currently held by Steve Baldwin (b. 1957), not to be confused with actor Stephen Baldwin. Presidents have included Nelson Bunker Hunt of Dallas, Amway co-founder Richard DeVos of Michigan, Pat Robertson of Virginia Beach, Paul Pressler of Houston, and former Reagan Cabinet secretaries Ed Meese and Donald Hodel, as well as current president Kenneth Cribb. Former Texas state Republican chairman George Strake, Jr., was a member during the 1990s.
- David D. Kirkpatrick, "The 2004 Campaign: The Conservatives: Club of the Most Powerful Gathers in Strictest Privacy", New York Times, August 28, 2004
- Max Blumenthal, Secretive Right-Wing Group Vetted Palin thenation.com 09/01/2008
- David D. Kirkpatrick, "Christian Right Labors to Find '08 Candidate", New York Times, February 24, 2007
- Inside the Council for National Policy ABC News May 8, 2008
- The War for Thee University, page 191. Texas Monthly Magazine. Nov 1991. Retrieved February 16, 2011.
- Christian Fundamentalism Permeates the Republican Party: Sarah Palin's links to the Christian Right, F. William Engdahl, OpEdNews, September 15, 2008
- Nancy Gibbs and Michael Duffy, "Still Looking for Mr. Right." "Time" October 4, 2007 http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1668472,00.html
- Adam Clymer, "Conservatives Gather in Umbrella Council for a National Policy", New York Times, May 20, 1981
- "Christian Conservatives Vow To Back Third Party Candidate If Giuliani Wins GOP Nomination," Bismarck, SD CBS affiliate, http://www.kxmb.com/News/Nation/167321.asp
- Michael Scherer, "Religious Right May Blackball Giuliani," http://www.salon.com/news/feature/2007/09/30/giuliani/
- USA. "Welcome - Political Research Associates - Right Web". Rightweb.irc-online.org. Retrieved 2010-02-20.
- Česky. "Sun Myung Moon - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia". En.wikipedia.org. Retrieved 2010-02-20.
- USA. "Committee for the Free World - Political Research Associates - Right Web". Rightweb.irc-online.org. Retrieved 2010-02-20.
- Gonzalez, Nathan C. (2007-09-28). "VP Cheney makes quick trip to Utah to address secretive conservative policy group". Salt Lake Tribune.
- Gibbs, Nancy (2007-10-05). "Still Looking For Mr. Right". Time Magazine.
- Americans United: Behind Closed Doors
- Council for National Policy
- Behind closed doors: who is the council for national policy and what are they up to? And why don't they want you to know? - Free Online Library
- Council for National Policy (CNP) - I - J - K - Member Biographies
- Council for National Policy Executives & Members
- "George W. Strake, Jr.". seekgod.ca/cnp. Retrieved October 13, 2009.
- Council for National Policy Web Site
- Policy Counsel, archive of speeches before the Council for National Policy
- Bill Berkowitz, "Right's New Strategy Emulates the 'Enemy'", Inter Press News Service, February 28, 2007
- Paul and Phillip Collins, "The Deep Politics of God: The CNP, Dominionism, and the Ted Haggard Scandal", Conspiracy Archive, February 19, 2007
- Suzi Parker, "The Real Convention?", U.S. News and World Report, August 25, 2004
- Sarah Posner, "Secret Society: Just who is the Council for National Policy, and why isn't it paying taxes?" AlterNet, 1 March 2005
- Barbara Aho, lengthy article on origins of CNP