Newly revealed documents shed light on a secretive right-wing group, its well-connected members and extensive efforts undertaken to overturn Donald Trump's election loss.
The Center for Media and Democracy has published the agenda for a recent CNPCouncil for National Policy meeting, in late February, and the watchdog journalists at Documented has obtained the membership roster and the most recent tax filings for the nonprofit organization, and those newly released materials show CNP's role in disrupting U.S. democracy, reported The New Republic.
"CNP archives illustrate the extensive planning its members undertook to discredit the 2020 election results, undermine local election officials, and incite the protest on January 6, 2021," the magazine reported. "The House select committee on January 6 has subpoenaed CNP election expert Cleta Mitchell, and the panel is also examining 29 texts exchanged between then–White House chief of staff Mark Meadows and Supreme Court spouse Ginni Thomas (a board member of the CNP’s lobbying arm) in support of Donald Trump’s attempts to overturn the election."
CNP has spawned numerous shadowy offshoots that frequently change their names or vanish, such as the Conservative Partnership Institute, which got $1 million from Trump's "Save America" PAC and counts Mark Meadows as senior partner, and Ginni Thomas ally Cleta Mitchell runs the "Election Integrity Network" under its umbrella.
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The February meeting elected a new slate of CNP officers, including new president Tom Fitton, who heads the conservative Judicial Watch; vice president Ken Blackwell, the former Ohio secretary of state who oversaw the key state's troubled 2004 election; secretary Jenny Beth Martin, who took part in the Jan. 6 "Stop the Steal" rally; board members Jerry Boykin, a retired Army general and infamous Islamophobe, and Chad Connelly, the national director of faith engagement for the Republican National Committee from 2013 to 2016.
The group also added about two dozen medical professionals, including Jan. 6 and anti-vaxxer Simone Gold, and James Todaro, part of America's Frontline Doctors campaign, which was orchestrated by the CNP and the 2020 Trump campaign to spread coronavirus misinformation.
Founding members Richard Viguerie and Morton Blackwell still play a role in CNP, whose February meeting highlighted a COVID initiative led by Gold and efforts to strengthen ties to the Koch Network and other relationship with other longstanding partners, and Rachel Bovard, CPI's senior director of policy, joined the board of directors at CNP Action in her first year as a member, which signals that offshoot group's importance to the project.
"The Conservative Partnership Institute was recently cited in an Axios report as a prime architect for “Trump 2025,” Trump’s plans for demolishing the federal government should he win a second term," reported The New Republic. "However, Mike Pence became a “dues-paying member” of the CNP this year as well, and there can be little doubt that there are active conversations with Ron DeSantis. The CNP’s leaders have made it clear that their objective is not the personality, it’s the outcome."
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