The Arizona ties to a secretive far-right Christian policy group trying to reshape America

In its 2023 Year in Review publication, the Center for National Policy touted a September 2023 conference at the Scottsdale Princess resort for having "superb speakers, precipitous rapid-fire information and on-time agenda!" Source: Screenshot

At an opulent Scottsdale resort last year, the audience listening to Turning Point USA CEO Charlie Kirk was enraptured as he spoke about the “lawfare” being used against conservatives like the members of the secretive right-wing organization he was addressing. 

It’s of paramount importance, Kirk insisted, that Republicans double down on their support of indicted “heroes” — as Kirk, TPUSA and many others have done in the wake of Donald Trump’s numerous criminal indictments — so as not to give in to political opponents.

“‘Oh, they’re indicted.’ We have to support them 100 percent in any way we possibly can,” Kirk said. “I think the movement, in some ways, is seeing it for what it is, which is you’re not going to be able to take any more of our heroes off the chessboard. The only way that we’re going to stop supporting our own is if they stop actually sharing our values. That’s what we’re going to do. Not because some institution tells us.”

Seven months later, one of Kirk’s top lieutenants, TPUSA and TPUSA Action Chief Operating Officer Tyler Bowyer was charged with felonies for his role in a fake elector scheme allegedly concocted by Trump’s campaign. Also indicted was state Sen. Jake Hoffman, R-Queen Creek, another close ally of Kirk’s who, like Bowyer, was in the crowd as Kirk spoke in Scottsdale. 

All three men share more than just certain conservative beliefs and connections to the fake elector scheme: They’re also members of the Council for National Policy, a secretive Christian policy group that has been pushing Christian nationalism and fringe-right ideology into mainstream politics. 

Other notable CNP members from Arizona include far-right Patriot Party founder Daniel McCarthy and the CEO of the anti-abortion and anti-LGBTQ law firm Alliance Defending Freedom, which is headquartered in Scottsdale. 

The group’s membership also boasts former Vice President Mike Pence, Congressman Barry Loudermilk and many more of the Christian right’s biggest players. 

In documents provided exclusively to the Arizona Mirror by the investigative watchdog organization Documented, the membership of this secretive organization has been revealed and includes some prominent Arizonans. 

The Council for National Policy is a little known organization that consists of powerful conservative leaders across the country with the aim of further pushing conservative Christian views. Documents and records obtained by the Mirror shed further light on their goals, membership and beliefs. 

What is the Council for National Policy?

CNP was founded in 1981 by evangelical minister Tim LaHaye, who is known to most as one of the two authors of the “Left Behind” Christian book series

LaHaye founded a number of Christian advocacy organizations during his life, including CNP. Those organizations helped spur support from evangelical Christians and were largely seen as helping get George W. Bush elected president

He has also railed against the LGBTQ+ community, told his followers that the Illuminati is behind world affairs and called Roman Catholicism a “false religion.” 

LaHaye died in 2016, but the organizations he helped create are still working towards his goals. 

The Council for National Policy is a 501(c)(3) public charity. Although it is “non-partisan,” as is required for companies granted nonprofit status by the Internal Revenue Service, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have an ideology. And the organization also runs CNP Action, a 501(c)(4) “dark money” group, which was tied to efforts to overturn Donald Trump’s 2020 loss to Joe Biden. 

CNP and #StopTheSteal

Virginia “Ginni” Thomas, wife of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, made national headlines after it was revealed that she was part of a campaign to pressure state lawmakers to overturn Biden wins in battleground states, including Arizona

Ahead of the 2020 election, Thomas was already a part of CNP Action and, in 2019, had created a project with future Trump legal advisor Cleta Mitchell to push election fraud narratives in what they called “American D-Day,” according to documents obtained by Documented

That effort also included Kirk’s TPUSA, as well as other organizations backing Trump. 

As early as February 2020, CNP Action was alleging non-existent voter fraud and falsely claiming that Democrats were planning to steal the election. At a CNP conference, speakers included people who would go on to become key figures in creating and spreading false voter fraud narratives after the election, including True the Vote’s Catherine Engelbrecht

Shortly after the election, Mitchell and CNP began holding sessions asking what the next legal move would be for the election. 

In a slideshow presentation obtained by Documented, CNP urged its members to contact members of their state legislatures to invoke their authorities over the election, citing invented claims of widespread voter fraud. 

Thomas and others ended up using a system called FreeRoots, an email campaign service that allows people to send pre-written emails to elected officials. Thomas used it to encourage 29 Republican Arizona lawmakers to use their “plenary powers” to choose Donald Trump over Joe Biden, according to reporting by the Washington Post

FreeRoots was also connected to CNP via Eric Berger, a member of the organization who has previously worked at the Heritage Foundation. FreeRoots is now defunct, but Hoffman owns a service nearly identical to it called AlignAct. 

The Mirror previously reported that metadata in a document on AlignAct showed that Berger was involved in some capacity. 

It is unclear how long Hoffman has been involved with FreeRoots and AlignAct. In past financial disclosure statements, he listed “n/a” when asked what type of business activity AlignAct conducts, only describing it as “Public Engagement Software.” 

Hoffman has a track record of using technology for conservative political activism. His principal company, Rally Forge, was hired by Turning Point USA to push pro-Republican messages on social media. Hoffman and Rally Forge did that by creating “troll farms” ahead of the 2018 midterms, operating Facebook accounts that appeared to be Democrats but were, in fact, pushing conservative political messaging and disinformation. 

The creation of the fake accounts, a majority of which were run by teenagers that Rally Forge had hired, according to reporting by the Washington Post, eventually led Facebook to permanently ban Hoffman and Rally Forge. The company, and later Hoffman himself, were also permanently banned from Twitter, although after Elon Musk purchased the social media platform, Hoffman’s account was reinstated. 

Hoffman still lists the company in his financial disclosure statements and was one of the 29 Arizona lawmakers Thomas reached out to. 

By Dec. 10, 2020, CNP Action was calling on state legislators to send an “alternate” slate of electors to Congress for certification, furthering a plot by Trump’s campaign that has led to indictments in four states, including Arizona, where 18 people — including Bowyer and Hoffman — face criminal charges for participation in the fake elector scheme. 

The Dec. 10 letter was also signed by two people who helped organize the Jan. 6 rally, according to Documented

Hoffman and Bowyer did not respond to requests for comment about their membership with CNP and any connections they have with Thomas. 

Election fraud and more

GOP candidate for AZ governor in 2006 says he didn’t try to win because a victory wouldn’t provide free housing

Arizona Christian University President Len Munsil told the 400 or so attendees at the September 2023 Council on National Policy gathering in Scottsdale that he ran for governor in 2006 because he wanted free housing, and “mailed in” his bid once he learned that Arizona doesn’t have a governor’s mansion.

Munsil was whallopped at the polls by Janet Napolitano, capturing only 35% of the vote against the Democratic incumbent in a solidly Republican state. He explained to his fellow CNP members — Munsil said he’s been attending the group’s meetings since the 1980s — that his loss wasn’t because he was out of step with voters, but because he stopped trying to win since a victory wouldn’t give his large family a place to live.

“We had eight kids between ages 19 and 10 at the time,” he said. “After I won the primary, I found out there was no governor’s mansion in Arizona. I sort of lost my motivation at that point and kind of mailed it in.”

Arizona is one of five states that does not have an official governor’s residence. The others are Idaho, Massachusetts, Vermont and Rhode Island.

Elsewhere in his speech, Munsil, who founded the anti-LGBTQ and anti-abortion Center for Arizona Policy, blamed his loss on a “blue wave” that stymied GOP candidates across the nation, likening his Republican primary election victory to “winning the last ticket on the Titanic’s maiden voyage.”

“It was the massive blue wave election of 2006. Not a single Republican challenger in the country defeated a Democratic incumbent, which was what I was up against,” he said. 

Munsil encouraged those in attendance to do three things: Keep building Christian institutions, focus on the “biblical worldview development of children” and encourage “young people to marry and have children.” 

“Today, as you see in the picture, we have 18 grandchildren, aged seven and under. Someday they’re going to out-vote the tiny number of grandchildren produced by woke Leftists. It’s that simple,” Munsil said. “So, I say again, we’re literally one generation away from a complete political and cultural turnaround. That’s how we win the future.”

In September 2023, CNP held a secret meeting at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess, which bills itself as a AAA Five Diamond luxury resort. 

Speakers included Kirk, Arizona Christian University President Len Munsil, Trump campaign legal advisor Harmeet Dhillon, Kari Lake and Speaker of the Arizona House of Representatives Ben Toma. More than 400 CNP members attended, according to CNP

Kirk’s speech closed out the event, which also included panel discussions with Toma, Lake and others. He railed against journalists and said that conservatives should not want “approval by The New York Times and The Washington Post.” 

“I see Father Frank Pavone. I mean, he had the Pope after him, for goodness’ sake,” Kirk said after telling members to ignore the media. “It’s really something, Frank. I’ll tell you what, that’s really something. Not everyone can say that the Pope targeted you. DOJ, January 6th Committee, the Pope — that is a new one.”

Pavone recently stepped down from a position at the anti-abortion group Priests for Life after multiple allegations surfaced alleging sexual misconduct. He also gained notoriety after he placed an aborted fetus on an altar during a sermon in which he urged parishioners to vote for Trump. 

The Roman Catholic Church defrocked Pavone for his “blasphemous communications” on social media and repeatedly disobeying his bishop. 

Pavone is featured in CNP material about the Scottsdale event along with others who contributed to the anti-abortion book, “Legacy of Life,” about leaders in the anti-abortion movement. 

“Don’t send that kind of weak-kneed, vanilla statement of ‘No, I promise, I’m not a racist’ or ‘Please like me.’ No, we are at war with these people,” Kirk said of the media. “We’re at war with the news editor desk at The Washington Post. We’re at war with all their investigative organizations, ProPublica, and all of them. They want every one of our organizations to shut down. Shuttered. Infiltrated. Deconstructed from within.” 

Kirk claimed that Christian conservative organizations are getting “better” at responding to the media, citing recent controversies of TPUSA hiring extremists and racists

“When they say, ‘Oh, you can’t hire that person because that person’s a racist’ — which, by the way, I deal with this all the time. These incredible, young 27-, 28-year-old kids that might have been fired by some other organization because of some ridiculous article that CNN did on them because they wrote a tweet when they were 14 years old,” Kirk said. 

Recently, pro-Nazi streamers have celebrated that a large number of followers of white nationalist Nick Fuentes have been hired by TPUSA. Bowyer has gone on to call followers of Fuentes “OK-ish” while appearing on Kirk’s podcast. 

“I love hiring these kids,” Kirk told his fellow CNP members. “You do not take your marching orders from Oliver Darcy at CNN. You don’t. You don’t take your marching orders from The Huffington Post or from whatever organization that tries to come after you. No.”

In his speech, Kirk alluded to Trump losing the election due to voter fraud. There is no evidence of widespread voter fraud impacting the 2020 election. 

According to a “Year in Review” pamphlet created by CNP, there were “multiple panels” at the Scottsdale event that focused on “the need for election integrity measures.” 

“The Friday night dinner in Scottsdale provided a sobering look at the threats we face from a weaponized justice system,” the pamphlet says. “Politically motivated prosecutions have been aimed at conservatives who dared to serve in the Trump Administration, lawyers who offer to defend those officials, and average citizens participating in the political process by serving as an elector in their state.” 

Bowyer wasn’t the only new inductee to the group in September 2023. The CNP accepted 47 others, including conspiracy theorist Robert Malone, “apocalyptic” Texas pastor Gene Bailey and an author who has promoted the racist “Great Replacement” conspiracy theory.

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