This punk Charlie Kirk from Turning Point Action is back in the news again after this earlier expose in September. Turning Point Action (USA) Creates It’s Own Russian Troll Farm In Phoenix.
As the presidential campaign entered its final stages, a fresh-faced Republican activist named Charlie Kirk stepped into the spotlight at a closed-door gathering of leading conservatives and shared his delight about an impact of the coronavirus pandemic: the disruption of America’s universities. So many campuses had closed, he said, that up to a half-million left-leaning students probably would not vote.
“So, please keep the campuses closed,” Kirk, 26, said in August as the audience cheered, according to video of the event obtained by The Washington Post. “Like, it’s a great thing.”
The gathering in Northern Virginia was organized by the Council for National Policy, a little-known group that has served for decades as a hub for a nationwide network of conservative activists and the donors who support them. Members include Ginni Thomas, wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas (right), and Leonard Leo from The Federalist Society, and an outside adviser to President Trump who has helped raise hundreds of millions of dollars from undisclosed donors to support conservative causes and the nominations of conservative federal judges.
Videos provided to The Post — covering dozens of hours of CNP meetings over three days in February and three in August — offer an inside view of participants’ obsessions and fears at a pivotal moment in the conservative movement. The videos, recorded by CNP to share with its members, show influential activists discussing election tactics, amplifying conspiracy theories and describing much of America in dark and apocalyptic terms.
“This is a spiritual battle we are in. This is good versus evil,” CNP’s executive committee president, Bill Walton, said on Aug. 21, addressing attendees at the Ritz-Carlton in Pentagon City. “We have to do everything we can to win.”
Tom Fitton, president of Judicial Watch, told attendees that same day that the left is “war-gaming” a plan to delay the election tally until Jan. 20, 2021, and enable House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to become acting president. “This is kind of like crazy talk” among political people, Fitton said. But he added: “This is not an insignificant concern.”
Dude, that’s your crazy talk. We have a president and vice president who have publicly refused to say that if they lose they will graciously concede the election in a peaceful transfer of power. This is a first in American history, and sets a dangerous precedent. You ought to be concerned about that.
Expressing concern about voter fraud and disenfranchisement, Fitton called on the audience to find a way to prevent mail-in ballots from being sent to voters. “We need to stop those ballots from going out, and I want the lawyers here to tell us what to do,” said Fitton, whose organization is a tax-exempt charity. “But this is a crisis that we’re not prepared for. I mean, our side is not prepared for.”
Voter suppression is a felony under federal law. Interfering with ballots is a felony under federal law. Obstructing the U.S. mail is a felony under federal law. Charge this sonavubitch now!
In an interview with The Post, Fitton elaborated on his remarks. “The left has war-gamed this out,” Fitton said. “And it could cause civil war.”
Only Donald Trump, who has told his white nationalist domestic terrorists Proud Boys to “stand back, and stand by” has threatened violence in response to losing the election. The far-right domestic terrorist organizations that have cosplayed their “civil war” fantasies for years are being incited to violence by Donald Trump — and Tom Fitton. Insurrection is a felony under federal law, and is treason. Start rounding up these treasonous conspirators.
Brent Bozell, a CNP executive committee member and founder of the Media Research Center, another tax-exempt charity, told attendees at one of the August sessions that he believes the left plans to “steal this election.”
“And if they get away with that, what happens?” he said. “Democracy is finished because they usher in totalitarianism.”
For the record, Brent Bozell has always been batshit crazy.
There is only one political party that is systematically attempting to suppress voter turnout and to intimidate voters at the polls in this election, and that is the Republican Party. Trump ‘army’ of poll watchers could frighten voters, incite violence, election officials warn. That, my friend, is stealing an election. And the Republican Party is an authoritarian party in thrall to a personality cult of Donald Trump. That is totalitarianism.
These anti-democratic right-wingers are all psychologically projecting their own evil desires and plans onto their Democratic pro-democracy opponents. It appears they may now have crossed into a collective insanity.
At the February meetings, attendees discussed plans for seeking an advantage in the upcoming vote. Two said the right will begin “ballot harvesting,” a controversial technique that involves the collection and delivery of sealed absentee ballots from churches and other institutions.
At the time of the meeting, Trump, his campaign officials and other Republicans were blasting the practice as an abuse by Democrats. “GET RID OF BALLOT HARVESTING, IT IS RAMPANT WITH FRAUD,” Trump tweeted this spring.
Now you know where this recent report from California got its genesis. LA Times Editorial Board: Voter beware. Fake ballot boxes are just the start of this election’s dirty tricks (excerpt):
For starters, don’t leave your ballot in some random drop box. The Orange County Register and other news outlets reported over the weekend that GOP groups around the state had set up unauthorized ballot boxes at party offices, churches and gun shops, apparently hoping to spur more Republicans to vote in the November election.
In one example in Orange County, a California Republican Party official posted a picture of himself beside a metal delivery box labeled “official ballot drop off box,” and he urged voters to message him for more “convenient locations” to drop their ballots.
Such unofficial drop boxes are not only risky for voting security, they’re illegal, Secretary of State Alex Padilla warned Sunday. Setting up a rogue ballot box is a felony and, if convicted, the perpetrators could be locked up for two to four years. The only mail-in ballot drop boxes allowed are those authorized by county election officials, who are responsible for ensuring that the boxes are tamper-proof and that there is a chain of custody when ballots are collected.
* * *
The Fresno County Republican Party, citing the president, promoted its unauthorized drop-off boxes as the safer way to vote.
“President Trump is very concerned about the lack of security with mail in ballots,” the Fresno GOP website read. “Don’t take a chance that your vote will not be counted.”
The irony is that the party’s answer to alleged voting insecurities is to create its own insecure (and apparently illegal) voting operation. Wisely, the county GOP announced it would remove the rogue boxes after Padilla’s warnings, according to the Fresno Bee. Padilla and Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra sent a cease-and-desist letter to the state, Orange County, Los Angeles County and Fresno County Republican parties, telling them to remove the boxes by Thursday.
But a spokesman for the state GOP told CBS13 in Sacramento that the party may add more boxes, albeit without the “official” label, in spots frequented by Republicans, such as gun stores and churches. The boxes, spokesman Hector Barajas said, are just a form of “ballot harvesting,” which the state authorized in a 2016 law signed by Gov. Jerry Brown.
The law requires voters to designate a person to turn in their ballot, and the designee has to sign the ballot envelope and state his or her relationship to the voter. Padilla’s office said the GOP ran afoul by asking voters to turn in their ballots to a box, not a person. That leaves little accountability if ballots go missing.
So is the California GOP now stealing ballots? They are definitely interfering with ballots, also a crime. CA Elec Code § 18577 (2019): “Any person having charge of a completed vote by mail ballot who willfully interferes or causes interference with its return to the local elections official having jurisdiction over the election is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment in the county jail not exceeding six months, by a fine not exceeding ten thousand dollars ($10,000), or by both the fine and imprisonment.”
But Ralph Reed, chairman of the nonprofit Faith & Freedom Coalition, told the CNP audience that conservatives are embracing the technique this year.
“And so our organization is going to be harvesting ballots in churches,” he said. “We’re going to be specifically going in not only to White evangelical churches, but into Hispanic and Asian churches, and collecting those ballots.”
J. Christian Adams, a former Justice Department official and the president of the Public Interest Legal Foundation, a charity, described mail-in voting as “the number one left-wing agenda.”
I’m sorry, but did Ralph Reed not just say he is going to be collecting early mail-in ballots? No one has ever confused Ralph Reed for a left-winger.
Adams urged the activists not to worry about the criticism that might come their way. “Be not afraid of the accusations that you’re a voter suppressor, you’re a racist and so forth,” Adams said.
In response to questions, Adams wrote in an email: “I stand by what I said because it is accurate.”
“Embrace your criminality with pride!”
The partisan commentary and election-related discussions captured on the videos involved members of an array of nonprofit organizations, including tax-exempt charities. In exchange for the right to accept tax-exempt donations, charities are prohibited from actively supporting political candidates or working in coordination on candidates’ behalf.
Boom! goes the dynamite. There you go, take away the tax exempt status of the “vast right-wing conspiracy” and fine them into oblivion.
[But] such laws are rarely enforced, in part because of murkiness about what constitutes a violation, and because of the complex interactions between some charities and nonprofits known as “social welfare” groups, tax specialists said. Social welfare groups are permitted to engage in lobbying and advocacy but must devote less than half of their resources to political activity. An individual may serve as a leader of both a charity and an affiliated social welfare group.
Some of the sessions at the CNP conferences are designated as being run by CNP Action, a social welfare affiliate that shares leaders with CNP.
Two tax law specialists who viewed hours of video at The Post’s request said some of the remarks and planning on the videos could be improper for the groups that are registered with the IRS as charities.
“What was jarring was that it was pretty clear to any reasonable observer that the entire purpose of the panel was to help the Republican Party win in November, up and down the ticket,” said Roger Colinvaux, director of law and public policy at Catholic University’s law school, referring to a panel about health care.
Marcus Owens, a lawyer who led the Exempt Organizations Division at the IRS from 1990 to 2000, told The Post that participants’ comments on the videos raise potential issues of compliance with election laws and charity rules. “I’ve never seen anything like it on videotape and live,” Owens said, referring to the overt partisan coordination among the nonprofit leaders. “It’s almost like a movie.”
A spokesman for Kirk said he was there representing himself, not in his capacity as the leader of Turning Point USA, a prominent conservative youth organization based in Phoenix.
Sure you were, punk. Nobody believes you.
Some participants spoke of a CNP-associated delegation that meets weekly with White House officials. They said the group, the Conservative Action Project, has helped to choose loyalists to run federal agencies and coordinate outside messages with nonprofit organizations to support administration policies and leaders.
“It’s kind of this little secretive
huddle cabal that meets every Wednesday morning,” Paul Teller, a Trump deputy and director of strategic initiatives for Vice President Pence, told the audience in August.
* * *
A CNP member named Rachel Bovard described .. Ginni Thomas as a crucial link to the White House. “She is one of the most powerful and fierce women in Washington,” Bovard said. “She is really the tip of the spear in these efforts.”
If you want to talk about recusal of Supreme Court Justices with a conflict of interest, let’s start with Clarence Thomas who has been conflicted the entire time he has sat on the court. I can recall only one time that he has recused, in the VMI case for which Ruth Bader Ginsburg is famous.
Following up on Senator Sheldon Whitehouse’s masterclass on the GOP corruption of the courts:
In another February session, Kelly Shackelford was introduced as CNP vice president, chairman of CNP Action and leader of the First Liberty Institute, another organization registered as a tax-exempt charity.
He bragged about extensive behind-the-scenes coordination by his group and other nonprofit organizations to influence the White House selection of federal judges.
“Some of us literally opened a whole operation on judicial nominations and vetting,” he said. “We poured millions of dollars into this to make sure the president has good information, he picks the best judges.”
Shackelford said he is among the nonprofit leaders now coordinating with the White House to support the Supreme Court nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to fill the seat previously held by Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
Speakers at the August conference touched on many of the cultural issues absorbing conservatives today — sometimes with more edge and heat than they do in their typical public remarks.
In one of the sessions, author and former professor Carol Swain, speaking on a panel about race relations, said that “White people have lost their voice in America.”
She likened the Black Lives Matter movement to the Ku Klux Klan. “The Democratic Party is using Black Lives Matter and antifa the same way they used the KKK,” said Swain, who is Black. “They created the KKK. It was their terrorist wing to terrorize everyone.”
Wow, I thought Dave Chapelle’s classic Clayton Bigsby, the World’s Only Black White Supremacist was just a brilliant piece of political satire. It turns out, this woman may be the real deal!
In response to questions, Swain stood by her remarks.
Some participants bridled at pandemic restrictions — and the video showed that many did not wear masks.
“You will need to wear masks in the public part of the hotel but not here,” Walton, the CNP president, announced to applause.
“Yeah,” Walton said. “That’s great!”
A state mandate in Virginia generally requires masks at indoor public settings.
On Aug. 21, in a rare CNP open session, Trump addressed the audience, which included acting homeland security secretary Chad Wolf. Later that day, Teller, the White House deputy, gave a high-spirited shout-out from the front of a conference room to Wolf’s team.
“I don’t know if you got to know Secretary Wolf’s team, sitting in the corner, they’re just a bunch of wingers. That’s like the most conservative table in the entire room, is Secretary Wolf’s team,” Teller gushed. “Great, great, great secretary.”
* * *
Others described an elaborate social media and advertising campaign by a collection of nonprofits — some of them tax-exempt charities — to convince voters this fall that a Republican free-market approach to health care would offer more choices.
Organizers showed ads that feature doctors in white lab coats with stethoscopes. They told the CNP audience that market research found that featuring doctors engenders trust among voters.
“And so I remind people that what we’re trying to do is put on theater here,” said Alfredo Ortiz, president of Job Creators Network and chief executive of its foundation. “It’s the stage. It’s the script and the actors.”
Ortiz did not respond to requests for comment.
Among those involved are former House speaker Newt Gingrich and former health and human services secretary Tom Price. Organizers are asking allies in Congress to introduce a resolution that echoes the policy themes, such as the notion of personalized health care, Price told the crowd.
“It’s urgent, but it’s not too late,” Price said.
This was a disturbing look at the “vast right wing conspiracy” trying to destroy democracy in America. You can disempower them politically by voting every Republican out of office. Disabling them financially is going to take longer.