Arlington Group

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The Arlington Group is a coalition which unites the leaders of prominent Christian conservative organizations in the United States.[1] Founded in 2002 principally through the efforts of American Family Association President Donald Wildmon and Free Congress Foundation Chairman Paul Weyrich, the group seeks to establish consensus goals and strategy among its members and translate its combined constituency into an overwhelming force within the Republican Party, particularly at its highest levels. Its membership and purpose overlaps to a high degree with the Council for National Policy; but the group is much more narrowly focused, choosing to emphasize such issues as same-sex marriage, abortion, and confirmation of like-minded federal judges.

The group's success has been mixed. While widely acknowledged to have the ear of President George W. Bush and his chief political advisor Karl Rove, and while generally successful in its efforts to coordinate the Christian Right, it has also endured noteworthy embarrassments. In early 2005, it threatened to withhold support for the President's proposed Social Security reforms if Bush did not vigorously support a federal constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. This provoked a firestorm of unwelcome media attention, but failed to produce the group's desired result (despite the President's continuing support for both their specific and broader aims). And later, in October 2005, Arlington Group Chairman and Focus on the Family founder James Dobson became the center of a minor scandal after leaking assurances made by Rove to an Arlington Group conference call regarding the pro-life credentials of Supreme Court nominee and White House counsel Harriet Miers.[citation needed] Miers withdrew her nomination later that month, largely due to reservations among conservatives.


The organization's deliberations are strictly off-the-record, and membership was previously held confidential, but the group launched a website in July 2006 which lists its member organizations.[2] In March 2007, the home page was taken down; according to an article in the Boston Globe, it was "abruptly disabled earlier this month after the Globe began making inquiries".[3]

Since each group's principal serves as its Arlington Group "member", but many of the groups are headed by a single principal (e.g., Focus on the Family and Focus on the Family Action are both headed by James Dobson), the site's list is somewhat confusing; and members are not required to disclose their participation. However, the following organizations and individuals have been identified as members as of 2006:[4]

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