PEEK

Taxpayers continue to fund right-wing meetings to assess presidential candidates

Sarah Posner: How does the Council for National Policy continue to operate in secret?
As reported on these pages two years ago, the Council for National Policy is a secretive association of influential ultra-conservatives who get charitable tax breaks for their membership dues and thrice yearly trips to fancy resorts to hobnob with politicians and policymakers. The secrecy surrounding an organization that was the brainchild of end-timers and right-wing financiers is contrary not only to democratic principles generally, but also to the Internal Revenue Code, which requires tax-exempt educational organizations to educate the general public -- in other words, to make its lectures, publications and other materials publicly available.

The luxury resort meetings of the CNP have been reported for several years in the New York Times by David Kirkpatrick, who almost consistently notes the organization's secrecy but not the fact that its members get a tax break despite the fact that they operate in secret. It's a subject worth revisiting (and I don't say this to toot my own horn), because my article exposing the tax-exempt boondoggle was a runner up for one of the top 25 censored stories of 2005. This past Sunday, in a piece entitled Christian Right Labors to Find '08 Candidate, Kirkpatrick grants anonymity to a recent meeting's attendees, and that anonymity was granted based on the internal policy of the CNP -- although contrary to the law -- that it function as a secret organization.
Sarah Posner is an investigative journalist whose work has appeared on Alternet, The American Prospect, The Gadflyer, and in other publications.
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