From the Southern Poverty Law Center:
The two political operatives chosen earlier this month to lead Donald Trump’s presidential campaign after two former managers departed have been members of the secretive Council for National Policy (CNP), Hatewatch has learned. Longtime Republican pollster Kellyanne Conway and Stephen Bannon, executive chairman of the far-right Breitbart News operation, were named on Aug. 17 as, respectively, the Trump campaign’s manager and its chief executive officer. The appointment of Bannon was by far the more controversial choice, given his role at a “news” outlet known for bashing immigrants, Muslims, women and others.
The CNP is an intensely secretive and shadowy group of what The New York Times once described as “the most powerful conservatives in the country.” It is so tight-lipped that it tells people not to admit their membership or even name the group. Revealing when or where the group meets, or what it discusses, is also forbidden. The organization, which can only be joined by invitation and at a cost of thousands of dollars, strives mightily to keep its membership rolls secret.
The CNP is not controversial so much for the conservatives who dominate it — activists of the religious right and the so-called “culture wars,” along with a smattering of wealthy financiers, Congressional operatives, right-wing consultants and Tea Party operatives — as for the many real extremists who are included.
They include people like Michael Peroutka, a neo-Confederate who for years was on the board of the white supremacist League of the South; Jerome Corsi, a strident Obama “birther” and the propagandist hit man responsible for the “Swift boating” of John Kerry; Joseph Farah, who runs the wildly conspiracist “news” operation known as WorldNetDaily; Mat Staver, the Liberty Counsel leader who has worked to re-criminalize gay sex; Philip Zodhaites, another anti-gay activist who is charged with helping a self-described former lesbian who kidnapped her daughter from her former partner and fled the country; and a large number of other similar characters.
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