American Conservative Union

American Conservative Union

Background

The American Conservative Union (ACU) describes itself as America’s original conservative organization. It is an umbrella organization founded in 1964 that fights “for Americans who are concerned with liberty, personal responsibility, traditional values,” according to its website. [1]

Since 1973, the ACU has hosted the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Washington, D.C. The ACU works in conjunction with the American Conservative Union Foundation (ACUF), a 501(c)(3) “educational foundation” that “converts and educates those who may not know they are conservatives as well as informing, inspiring and motivating those who know they are conservatives.” [1]

Matt Schlapp is Chairman of the ACU, and formerly worked in the DC offices of petrochemical giant Koch Industries. While Schlapp worked as Vice President of Federal Affairs at Koch Companies Public Sector, LLC, Koch Industries distanced themselves when he became Chairman of the ACU, claiming they hadn’t had a working relationship with him in years. [2], [3], [4]

ACU‘s board has included prominent climate change deniers and lobbyists including Fred L. Smith, Jr., founder of the Competitive Enterprise Institute, Grover Norquist of Americans for Tax Reform, and Joe Bast of the Heartland Institute.

American Conservative Union Foundation

According to its website, the ACUF was established in 1973 to “educate voters, office-holders, and opinion leaders as to why conservative principles work better to solve the myriad of complex and dynamic problems facing Americans today and to equip them to become better and more effective problem-solvers by implementing conservative values within their communities.” [5]

ACU PAC

ACU Political Action Committee is the ACU‘s political arm and “supports candidates for office who reflect the conservative principles on which the ACU was founded.” According to the ACU website, “a successful, well-funded political action committee keeps the American Conservative Union relevant and influential on the issues of greatest importance to our membership, both at the national and state levels, in general and primary elections.” [6]

Stance on Climate Change

The ACU has historically opposed efforts that would limit carbon dioxide emissions for the purpose of combatting climate change. For example, ACU supported HR 3409, a bill that would prevent the EPA from regulating greenhouse gas emissions: [7]

ACU opposes EPA’s attempt to use the issue of global warming to control American manufacturing and supported this bill,” ACU notes.

Climate science denialists and fossil fuel advocates have been given regular forums as part of the CPAC conferences in recent years. ACU has also sponsored climate science denial conferences organised by the Heartland Institute.

Funding

The following data is based on publicly available 990 forms and by data collected by the Conservative Transparency project. Note that not all individual values have been verified by DeSmog. [8]

View the attached spreadsheet for additional details on American Conservative Union and ACU Foundation funding by year (.xlsx).

DonorAmerican Conservative UnionAmerican Conservative Union FoundationGrand Total
The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation $1,460,000$1,460,000
American Action Network$600,000 $600,000
National Christian Charitable Foundation $462,000$462,000
Mercer Family Foundation$250,000$120,000$370,000
Wellspring Committee$240,000 $240,000
Exxon Mobil $140,000$140,000
Judicial Crisis Network$129,000 $129,000
National Rifle Association Foundation $108,520$108,520
Judicial Watch$108,000 $108,000
PhRMA$100,000 $100,000
American Petroleum Institute$58,500$7,500$66,000
Armstrong Foundation $62,500$62,500
The Marcus Foundation$50,000 $50,000
The Vernon K. Krieble Foundation$41,000 $41,000
John William Pope Foundation$5,000$30,000$35,000
Americans for Tax Reform$25,000$0$25,000
The Randolph Foundation $20,000$20,000
DonorsTrust $19,750$19,750
Donors Capital Fund $12,000$12,000
American Values $10,000$10,000
Dodge Jones Foundation $10,000$10,000
Bill and Berniece Grewcock Foundation $10,000$10,000
Castle Rock Foundation $10,000$10,000
Charles G Koch Charitable Foundation $9,000$9,000
Joyce and Donald Rumsfeld Foundation $4,000$4,000
Claude R. Lambe Charitable Foundation $2,000$2,000
William E. Simon Foundation $2,000$2,000
The Roe Foundation$2,000 $2,000
Patrick Henry Center for Individual Liberty$1,325 $1,325
Dunn’s Foundation for the Advancement of Right Thinking$1,000 $1,000
Americans for Tax Reform Foundation $250$250
Grand Total$1,610,825$2,499,520$4,110,345

990 Forms

American Conservative Union

American Conservative Union Foundation

Key People

Board of Directors

Name2000200120032005200620072008200920112012201320142015201620172018Description
Alan M. GottliebYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY 
Becky Norton DunlopYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY 
Michael R. LongYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY 
Morton C. BlackwellYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY 
Muriel ColemanYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY 
Ron RobinsonYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY 
Carolyn D. Meadows   YYYYYYYYYYYYY 
Van D. Hipp, Jr.   YYYYYYYYYYYYY 
John Bolton     YYYYYYYYYYY 
Matt Schlapp     YYYYYYYYYYY 
Charlie Gerow        YYYYYYYYVice Chairman
Amy Frederick           YYYYYSecretary
Bob Beauprez           YYYYYTreasurer
Luis Fortuno           YYYYY 
Ned Ryun           YYYYY 
Ron Christie           YYYYY 
John Eddy            YYYY 
Thomas Winter     YYYYYYY YYY 
Ed McFadden             YYY 
Ed Yevoli             YYY 
José Cárdenas             YYY 
Kimberly Bellissimo             YYY 
Larry Beasley             YYY 
M. Zuhdi Jasser             YYY 
Matt Smith             YYY 
Mike Rose             YYY 
Peter Samuelson             YYY 
Jackie Arends              YY 
Priscilla O’Shaughnessy              YY 
Sabrina Schaeffer              YY 
Terry Schilling              YY 
Stephen E. Biegun               Y 
Grover G. NorquistYYYYYYYYYYYYYY   
James V. LacyYYYYYYYYYYYYYY   
Fred L. Smith, Jr.         YYYYY   
Tom DeLay     YYY   YYY   
Kellyanne Conway           YYY   
Alberto R. Cardenas   YYYYYYYYYY    
Joe Bast     YYYYYYYY    
Lew Uhler       YYYYYY    
David A. Keene        YYYYY    
Jameson G. Campaigne, Jr.        YYYYY   Secretary, ACU
Carly Fiorina         YYYY   Chairman, ACU Foundation
Anne Northup           YY    
Mark Stephens           YY   Member-at-Large
Suhail Khan     YYYYYYY     
Paul Erickson         YYY     
Allen RothYYYYYYYYYYY      
Floyd BrownYYYYYYYYYYY     Western Center for Journalism
Jeffrey BellYYYYYYYYYYY     Capital City Partners
Serphin MalteseYYYYYYYYYYY      
Cleta Mitchell YYYYYYYYYY     Foley & Lardner, LLP
Kirby Wilbur YYYYYYYYYY     Washington State Republican Party
Joseph A. Morris   YYYYYYYY     Morris & De La Rosa
Larry Eastland     YYYYYY     Global Public Strategies, Ltd
Donald J. Devine        YYY     Second Vice Chairman, Donald Devine Company
Asa Hutchinson         YY     The Asa Hutchinson Law Group
M.J. MintzYY  YYYYY       Of Counsel
Wayne R. LaPierre Jr.YYYYYYYY         
Tracie Sharp     YYY         
Lewis UhlerYYYYYYY         Roseville, CA
John Berthoud     Y          Alexandria, VA
Charles BlackYYYYY           Washington, DC
Craig ShirleyYYYYY           Alexandria, VA
Duncan HunterYYYYY           Washington, DC
James Arthur PopeYYYYY           Raleigh, NC
Jesse HelmsYYYYY           Raleigh, NC
Robert LuddyYYYYY           Captive-Aire Systems
Tom PaukenYYYYY           Dallas, Texas
Charles Jarvis    Y           Fairfax, VA
Star Parker    Y           Los Angeles, CA
Beau BoulterYYYY            Arlington, VA 
M. Stanton EvansYYYY            Washington, DC
Steve Moore  YY            Washington, DC
L. Brent Bozell, IIIYYY             Alexandria, VA 
Camille Kampouris YY             New York, NY
Louis JenkinsYY              Baton Rouge, LA
Ralph Reed, Jr.YY              Duluth, GA

ACU Foundation Board of Directors

Name201020112012201320142015201620172018Description
Carolyn D. MeadowsYYYYYYYYY 
Millie HallowYYYYYYYYY 
Van D. Hipp, Jr.YYYYYYYYY 
Colin Hanna   YYYYYY 
Jonathan Garthwaite    YYYYY 
José Cárdenas    YYYYY 
Kimberly Bellissimo    YYYYY 
Matt Schlapp    YYYYY 
Willes K. Lee    YYYYY 
Thomas WinterYYYYY YYY 
Charlie Gerow      YYYVice Chairman
Niger Innis      YYY 
Randy Neugebauer      YYY 
Adam Laxalt       YY 
Mary Matalin       YY 
Amy Frederick   YYYY  Secretary
David A. KeeneY  YYY    
Tim Goeglein   YYY    
Carly Fiorina    Y    Chairman, ACU Foundation
Cleta MitchellYYYY     Foley & Lardner, LLP
Alberto R. Cardenas YYY      
Robert Luddy YYY     Captive-Aire Systems
Roger Noriega   Y     Visión Américas
Richard H. CollinsYYY       
Tom TrippYYY      Secretary
Robert LamuttY         

Staff & Personnel

Name200020012002200320042005200620072008200920102011201220142015201620172018Description
Dan Schneider             YYYYYExecutive Director
Carin Walters              YYYY 
Ed McFadden               YYY 
M. Zuhdi Jasser               YYY 
Mike Rose               YYY 
Peter Samuelson               YYY 
Zach Crandell               YYY 
Matt Schlapp          Y   Y YY 
Ian WaltersYYYYY           YY 
Chandler Ball                YY 
Fred McGrath                YY 
Luke Schneider                YYDevelopment
Ryan McGowan                YYDirector of Finance and Operations
Carly Conley                 YCPAC & Events Coordinator
Jackie Anderson                 YDirector of Policy and Public Affairs
Jackie Arends                 Y 
Michi Iljazi                 YDirector of Government Affairs
Priscilla O’Shaughnessy                 Y 
Terry Schilling                 Y 
Tyler Muench                 YPolicy Analyst
Francis Finnegan              YYY  
Grace Morgan              YYY  
Matt Smith               YY  
Sabrina Schaeffer               YY  
Sarah Brown                Y Development
Susan Marshall                Y Executive Assistant
Larry Hart        YYYYYYYY  Director of Government Relations
Amanda Bunning              YY   
Jessica Springer              YY   
Monica Sansonetti              YY   
Amanda Want               Y   
José Cárdenas               Y   
Larry Beasley               Y   
Carol A. Apelt             YY   Director of Operations
Lauren Bullard             YY   Deputy Director of Government Relations
Denise Passero              Y    
JodyLynn Tedford              Y   Operations and Development Assistant
John Eddy              Y    
Tom Robinson              Y    
Vinh Nguyen            YY    Director of Events and Conferences
Meghan Snyder             Y    Communications Director
Dennis Whitfield        YYYYY     Consultant
Melissa Bowman          YYY     Director of Operations
Gregg Keller           YY     National Executive Director
Carin Hudson            Y     CPAC Staff Assistant
Christopher Malagisi            Y     Director of National CPAC & External Relations
Elyssa Giordano            Y     CPAC Staff Assistant
Laura Rigas            Y     National Communications Director
Lisa Radov            Y     Government Relations Assistant
Louisa Imperiale            Y     National Finance Director
Matt Bagnoli            Y     Deputy Finance Director
Tristan Daedalus            Y     Information Officer
Lisa De Pasquale       YYYYY      CPAC Director
Vincent Galatro        YYYY      Manager of New Media and Special Projects
Joseph Logue         YYY      Assistant CPAC Director
Lynn Bradshaw          YY      Executive Director of Development
Harrison Fritz           Y      Development Associate
Michael Sebring           Y      Government Relations Associate
David A. KeeneYYYYYYYYYYY        
Jameson G. Campaigne, Jr.YYYYYYYYYYY       Secretary, ACU
Thomas WinterYYYYYYYYYYY        
Tish Leonard    YYYYYYY       Assistant to the Chairman
Donald J. DevineYYYYY YYYYY       Second Vice Chairman, Donald Devine Company
Heather Madden       YYYY       Director of Corporate and Foundation Dev.
Jennifer Needam         YY       Executive Administrator
Alan M. Gottlieb  Y Y     Y        
Allen Roth  Y Y     Y        
Becky Norton Dunlop  Y Y     Y        
Cleta Mitchell  Y Y     Y       Foley & Lardner, LLP
Floyd Brown  Y Y     Y       Western Center for Journalism
Grover G. Norquist  Y Y     Y        
James V. Lacy  Y Y     Y        
Jeffrey Bell  Y Y     Y       Capital City Partners
Kirby Wilbur  Y Y     Y       Washington State Republican Party
Michael R. Long  Y Y     Y        
Morton C. Blackwell  Y Y     Y        
Muriel Coleman  Y Y     Y        
Ron Robinson  Y Y     Y        
Serphin Maltese  Y Y     Y        
Wayne R. LaPierre Jr.  Y Y     Y        
Alberto R. Cardenas    Y     Y        
Joseph A. Morris    Y     Y       Morris & De La Rosa
Carolyn D. Meadows          Y        
Charlie Gerow          Y       Vice Chairman
Joe Bast          Y        
John Bolton          Y        
Larry Eastland          Y       Global Public Strategies, Ltd
Lew Uhler          Y        
M.J. Mintz          Y       Of Counsel
Michael Rehwaldt          Y       Senior Development Associate
Suhail Khan          Y        
Tom DeLay          Y        
Tracie Sharp          Y        
Van D. Hipp, Jr.          Y        
Diana Carr    YYYYYY        Administrative Director
Elizabeth Neaton         Y        Finance Assistant
Elizabeth Moody       YY         Director of Operations
J. William Lauderback     YYY          Executive Vice President
Jonathan A. Moody       Y          Membership Director
Marc E. RottermanYYYYYYY           Treasurer
Stacie Rumenap    YYY           Deputy Director/CPAC Director
Marjorie Blakely     YY           Director of Development
Suzanne Bowdey     YY           Projects Director
Stacey Chamberlin  YYY             Projects Director
Daniel Lawrence   YY             IT Manager
Beau Boulter  Y Y             Arlington, VA 
Charles Black  Y Y             Washington, DC
Craig Shirley  Y Y             Alexandria, VA
Duncan Hunter  Y Y             Washington, DC
James Arthur Pope  Y Y             Raleigh, NC
Jesse Helms  Y Y             Raleigh, NC
Lewis Uhler  Y Y             Roseville, CA
M. Stanton Evans  Y Y             Washington, DC
Robert Luddy  Y Y             Captive-Aire Systems
Tom Pauken  Y Y             Dallas, Texas
Richard Lessner    Y             Executive Director
Steve Moore    Y             Washington, DC
Diana Keene YYY              Administrative Director
Peter Cleary  YY              Deputy Director/ Director, CPAC
W. Stephen Thayer   Y              Executive Director
Kerri HoustonYYY               National Field Director
Camille Kampouris  Y               New York, NY
Chuck Muth  Y               Executive Director
David M. Keene  Y               Director for On-Line Communications
L. Brent Bozell, III  Y               Alexandria, VA 
Stephen Moore  Y               Washington, DC
Christian JosiYY                Executive Director
Mark HendricksonYY                Project Director
Tom GardnerYY                Director for On-Line Communications
Mike Hardiman Y                Legislative Director
Stephen F. Kulisek Y                Assistant to the Executive Director
Anthony CurcioY                 Administrative Director
Patricia FavaY                 Legislative Director

Actions

July 18, 2018

The American Conservative Union, represented by Matt Schlapp, was among signatories of a letter supporting an anti-carbon tax resolution from House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) and Rep. David McKinley (R-W.Va. [20]

“We oppose any carbon tax. We oppose a carbon tax because it would lead to less income and fewer jobs for American families,” the letter read. “We support the House Concurrent Resolution in opposition to a job-killing carbon tax and urge members to co-sponsor and support this effort.” [20]

The resolution would call a carbon tax “detrimental to the United States economy.”E&E News reported it was similar to a measure that passed the House in 2016. Rep. Carlos Curbelo of Florida, co-chairman of the Climate Solutions Caucus, said he would not vote for the resolution. [21]

“Protecting our environment and economic growth are not mutually exclusive,” he said in a statement. “The resolution presents a false choice.” [21]

The Citizens’ Climate Lobby (CCL) issued a point-by-point rebuttal of the measure when it was first introduced. [22]

March 2017

As DeSmog reported, the 2017 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) hosted a range or prominent climate change deniers including James Delingpole, who told the audience that “the Greenies are […] are … some of the worst people in the world.” Sample videos below. [9]

James Delingpole

Steve Milloy

James Delingpole on “Fake Climate News” Panel Discussion

March 2016

The ACU‘s annual CPAC featured two sessions by the Heartland Institute, Right Wing Watch reported. One session focussed on combatting the media’s focus on the Koch Brothers’ political network and funding, with a presentation titled “Darker Money” presumabely meant as a play on Jane Mayer’s book,  Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right. The second workshop focused on how to win arguments against climate change “alarmists.” [10]

February 2015

New Republic reported that former Texas Governor Rick Perry presented at CPAC 2015, suggesting that carbon emissions are not “real” pollution. According to Perry, he “decreased our nitrogen oxide levels, which by the way is real. It’s a real emission.” [11]

March 2014

CPAC hosted a panel titled “What’s the Deal with Global Warming?” featuring prominent climate change deniers including Joseph Bast, Steve Milloy, Marc Morano, Marlo Lewis, and George Landrith. [12]

March 2013

Mother Jones reported that CPAC 2013 featured presentations by members of “The Right Climate Staff” (TRCS), including Harold Doiron, Thomas Wysmuller, and Walter Cunningham[13]

If sea level’s rising, it’s not a global problem,” Doiron said in his presentation. “It’s not happening in the Rocky Mountains.” [13]

“That none of the panelists critiquing climate science have any professional training in climate science isn’t lost on the group,” Mother Jones noted. [13]

May 2012

The ACU was a cosponsor of the Heartland Institute‘s Seventh International Conference on Climate Change (ICCC7). DeSmog reported that ICCC7 sponsors had received a combined total of more than $67 million over the years from ExxonMobil, the Koch Brothers and the right-wing Scaife family foundations. [14], [15]

March 2010

The ACU was a cosponsor of the Heartland Institute‘s Fourth International Conference on Climate Change (ICCC4). As DeSmog reported, 19 of the 65 sponsors (including Heartland itself) have received a total of over $40 million in funding since 1985 from ExxonMobil (funded 13 orgs), and/or Koch Industries family foundations (funded 10 orgs) and/or the Scaife family foundations (funded 10 orgs). [16], [17]

Contact & Address

Below is the address listed on most recent 990 forms for both the American Conservative Union and American Conservative Union Foundation:

American Consevative Union
Room/Suite 500
1331H Street, NW
Washington, DC, 20005

Social Media

Resources

  1. Who We Are,” The American Conservative Union. Archived January 25, 2018. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/MvxXu
  2. The Hon. Matt Schlapp,” The American Conservative Union. Archived February 6, 2018. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/IoXBp
  3. Matthew A. Schlapp,” Cove Strategies. Archived February 6, 2018. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/O58xy
  4. Stephen Dinan. “Koch network says no ties to new ACU chief,” The Washington Times, June 23, 2014. Archived February 6, 2018. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/gOMYi
  5. About the ACU Foundation,” The ACU Foundation. Archived February 6, 2018. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/2l0Cd
  6. ACU PAC,” The American Conservative Union. Archived February 7, 2018. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/ur9RP
  7. Vote Description Climate Change Regulations. HR 3409 (Roll Call 603),” The American Conservative Union. Archived February 9, 2018. Archive.is URLhttps://archive.is/bhlY4
  8. American Conservative Union,” Conservative Transparency. Data retrieved February 2018.
  9. Zach Roberts. “Deniers Rally Conservatives to Dismiss Climate Science as ‘Fake News’ and Share Breitbart Stories Instead,” DeSmog, March 2, 2017.
  10. Peter Montgomery. “Unintentional Heartland Humor At CPAC,” Right Wing Watch, March 4, 2016. Archived February 9, 2018. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/5ilwa
  11. Rebecca Leber. “Rick Perry: I Care About ‘Real’ Pollution, Not Climate Change,” New Republic, February 27, 2015. Archived February 9, 2018.
  12. CPAC 2014 – What’s the Deal with Global Warming?” YouTube video uploaded by user “American Conservative Union,” March 7, 2014.
  13. Tim Murphy. “Climate Denier at CPAC: Trust Me, I’m an Astronaut,” Mother Jones, March 15, 2013. Archived February 9, 2018. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/KQc9k
  14. “Seventh International Conference on Climate Change” (PDF), The Heartland Institute.
  15. Brendan DeMelle. “Heartland Denial-a-Palooza Sponsors Have Received $67 Million From ExxonMobil, Koch and Scaife Foundations,” DeSmog, May 22, 2012.
  16. “Fourth International Conference on Climate Change” (PDF), The Heartland Institute.
  17. Brendan DeMelle. “Denial-a-palooza Round 4: ‘International Conference on Climate Change’ Groups Funded by Exxon, Koch Industries,” DeSmog, May 13, 2010.
  18. American Conservative Union,State Policy Network. Archived February 6, 2018. Archive.is URLhttps://archive.is/ndeP5
  19. American Conservative Union Foundation,” The American Conservative Union. Archived June 3, 2001. Archive.is URL: https://archive.is/F6ujb
  20. 41 Conservative Groups Support Scalise/McKinley Anti-Carbon Tax Resolution,” Americans for Tax Reform, July 18, 2018. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.
  21. Nick Sobczyk. “House voting on anti-carbon-tax measure: ‘Pass the popcorn’,” E&E News, July 16, 2018. Archived Aug 2, 2018. Archive.is URL: https://archive.fo/aTP8h
  22. Teaching opportunities from House Concurrent Resolution 119 (H.Con.Res.119)” (PDF), Citizens’ Climate Lobby, April 30, 2018.

Other Resources

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