Council for National Policy

The Council for National Policy (CNP) is a secretive far right tax-exempt organization that brings together the most powerful radical right activists and financial backers in order to coordinate strategy. The group’s membership is secret and its meetings—held three to four times per year—are not publicly announced. According to Russ Bellant in The Coors Connection, Morton Blackwell of the Council for National Policy has said “the policy is that we don’t discuss who attends the meetings or what is said.” The organization was founded in 1981 by Tim LaHaye, a leader of Moral Majority and Texan conservative T. Cullen Davis. LaHaye brought together representatives from the Religious Right, the White House, elected officeholders, the political right, and rightwing businessmen and setup an atmosphere that would blend the religious right and “the low-tax, anti-government” right (source). The CNP’s newsletters take credit for everything from helping to kill health care reform to blocking regulations restricting religious expression in the workplace (source). In the 1980s, the Council for National Policy was heavily involved in channeling money from the religious right into a variety of efforts supporting President Ronald Reagan’s Central America policies ranging from building support in for his policies in the United States to building ties with the international right via arms dealers, mercenaries, and other such forces (source).

Notable members of the Executive Committee have included Oliver North, Gary Bauer, Pat Robertson, Richard DeVos, Tim LaHaye, and Richard Shoff, a former Ku Klux Klan leader in Indiana.

Speakers at CNP meetings have included President George W. Bush (as a candidate in 1999), Vice President Dick Cheney, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, and Attorney General Alberto Gonzales (while White House Counsel) (source).

The Council for National Policy has received funding from the Edgar and Elsa Prince Foundation, the Richard and Helen DeVos Foundation, the Dick and Betsy DeVos Foundation and the Freiheit Foundation.

Leaders, Members, and Others Associated with the Organization

  • Richard DeVos, President of the Council for National Policy 1986-1988 and 1993-1994, member almost since its founding (Russ Bellant, The Religious Right in Michigan Politics)
  • Richard “Dick” DeVos, Junior, member of the Council for National Policy (source)
  • Edgar Prince, Vice President of the Council for National Policy from 1988-1989 and at his death in 1995, member of Council for National Policy (Bellant, The Religious Right in Michigan Politics)
  • Robert Sircio, member of the Council for National Policy, Director of the Acton Institute, (source)
  • Elsa Prince, member and Board of Governors in 1998 of Council for National Policy (Bellant, The Religious Right in Michigan Politics) (source)
  • Billy Zeoli, head of Micihgan-based Gospel Communications International, member of the Council for National Policy (Bellant, The Religious Right in Michigan Politics)
  • Peter Cook, member of the Council for National Policy (Bellant, The Religious Right in Michigan Politics) and Board of Governors in 1998 (source)
  • John Bouma, president of Bouma Corporation, member of the Council for National Policy (Bellant, TThe Religious Right in Michigan Politics)
  • P. Craig Welch Jr., member in 1998 of the Council for National Policy (source)
  • Kris Alan Mauren, Acton Institute, Youth Council member of the Council for National Policy (source)
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