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).

Donor American Conservative Union American Conservative Union Foundation Grand Total
The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation $945,000 $945,000
National Christian Charitable Foundation $390,000 $390,000
Mercer Family Foundation $250,000 $120,000 $370,000
Wellspring Committee $240,000 $240,000
National Rifle Association Foundation $108,520 $108,520
Judicial Watch $108,000 $108,000
Exxon Mobil $90,000 $90,000
Armstrong Foundation $62,500 $62,500
American Petroleum Institute $58,500 $58,500
The Vernon K. Krieble Foundation $30,000 $30,000
The Randolph Foundation $20,000 $20,000
DonorsTrust $19,750 $19,750
Americans for Tax Reform $14,500 $14,500
Donors Capital Fund $12,000 $12,000
Bill and Berniece Grewcock Foundation $10,000 $10,000
Castle Rock Foundation $10,000 $10,000
American Values $10,000 $10,000
John William Pope Foundation $5,000 $5,000
Claude R. Lambe Charitable Foundation $4,000 $4,000
Joyce and Donald Rumsfeld 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
Grand Total $695,825 $1,820,270 $2,516,095

990 Forms

American Conservative Union

American Conservative Union Foundation

Key People

Board of Directors

Name 2000 2001 2003 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 Description
Alan M. Gottlieb Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Becky Norton Dunlop Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Michael R. Long Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Morton C. Blackwell Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Muriel Coleman Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Ron Robinson Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Carolyn D. Meadows Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Van D. Hipp, Jr. Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
John Bolton Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Matt Schlapp Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Charlie Gerow Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Vice Chairman
Amy Frederick Y Y Y Y Y Secretary
Bob Beauprez Y Y Y Y Y Treasurer
Luis Fortuno Y Y Y Y Y
Ned Ryun Y Y Y Y Y
Ron Christie Y Y Y Y Y
John Eddy Y Y Y Y
Thomas Winter Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Ed McFadden Y Y Y
Ed Yevoli Y Y Y
José Cárdenas Y Y Y
Kimberly Bellissimo Y Y Y
Larry Beasley Y Y Y
M. Zuhdi Jasser Y Y Y
Matt Smith Y Y Y
Mike Rose Y Y Y
Peter Samuelson Y Y Y
Jackie Arends Y Y
Priscilla O'Shaughnessy Y Y
Sabrina Schaeffer Y Y
Terry Schilling Y Y
Stephen E. Biegun Y
Grover G. Norquist Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
James V. Lacy Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Fred L. Smith, Jr. Y Y Y Y Y
Tom DeLay Y Y Y Y Y Y
Kellyanne Conway Y Y Y
Alberto R. Cardenas Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Joe Bast Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Lew Uhler Y Y Y Y Y Y
David A. Keene Y Y Y Y Y
Jameson G. Campaigne, Jr. Y Y Y Y Y Secretary, ACU
Carly Fiorina Y Y Y Y Chairman, ACU Foundation
Anne Northup Y Y
Mark Stephens Y Y Member-at-Large
Suhail Khan Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Paul Erickson Y Y Y
Allen Roth Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Floyd Brown Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Western Center for Journalism
Jeffrey Bell Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Capital City Partners
Serphin Maltese Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Cleta Mitchell Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Foley & Lardner, LLP
Kirby Wilbur Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Washington State Republican Party
Joseph A. Morris Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Morris & De La Rosa
Larry Eastland Y Y Y Y Y Y Global Public Strategies, Ltd
Donald J. Devine Y Y Y Second Vice Chairman, Donald Devine Company
Asa Hutchinson Y Y The Asa Hutchinson Law Group
M.J. Mintz Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Of Counsel
Wayne R. LaPierre Jr. Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Tracie Sharp Y Y Y
Lewis Uhler Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Roseville, CA
John Berthoud Y Alexandria, VA
Charles Black Y Y Y Y Y Washington, DC
Craig Shirley Y Y Y Y Y Alexandria, VA
Duncan Hunter Y Y Y Y Y Washington, DC
James Arthur Pope Y Y Y Y Y Raleigh, NC
Jesse Helms Y Y Y Y Y Raleigh, NC
Robert Luddy Y Y Y Y Y Captive-Aire Systems
Tom Pauken Y Y Y Y Y Dallas, Texas
Charles Jarvis Y Fairfax, VA
Star Parker Y Los Angeles, CA
Beau Boulter Y Y Y Y Arlington, VA 
M. Stanton Evans Y Y Y Y Washington, DC
Steve Moore Y Y Washington, DC
L. Brent Bozell, III Y Y Y Alexandria, VA 
Camille Kampouris Y Y New York, NY
Louis Jenkins Y Y Baton Rouge, LA
Ralph Reed, Jr. Y Y Duluth, GA

ACU Foundation Board of Directors

Name 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 Description
Carolyn D. Meadows Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Millie Hallow Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Van D. Hipp, Jr. Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Colin Hanna Y Y Y Y Y Y
Jonathan Garthwaite Y Y Y Y Y
José Cárdenas Y Y Y Y Y
Kimberly Bellissimo Y Y Y Y Y
Matt Schlapp Y Y Y Y Y
Willes K. Lee Y Y Y Y Y
Thomas Winter Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Charlie Gerow Y Y Y Vice Chairman
Niger Innis Y Y Y
Randy Neugebauer Y Y Y
Adam Laxalt Y Y
Mary Matalin Y Y
Amy Frederick Y Y Y Y Secretary
David A. Keene Y Y Y Y
Tim Goeglein Y Y Y
Carly Fiorina Y Chairman, ACU Foundation
Cleta Mitchell Y Y Y Y Foley & Lardner, LLP
Alberto R. Cardenas Y Y Y
Robert Luddy Y Y Y Captive-Aire Systems
Roger Noriega Y Visión Américas
Richard H. Collins Y Y Y
Tom Tripp Y Y Y Secretary
Robert Lamutt Y

Staff & Personnel

Name 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 Description
Dan Schneider Y Y Y Y Y Executive Director
Carin Walters Y Y Y Y
Ed McFadden Y Y Y
M. Zuhdi Jasser Y Y Y
Mike Rose Y Y Y
Peter Samuelson Y Y Y
Zach Crandell Y Y Y
Matt Schlapp Y Y Y Y
Ian Walters Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Chandler Ball Y Y
Fred McGrath Y Y
Luke Schneider Y Y Development
Ryan McGowan Y Y Director of Finance and Operations
Carly Conley Y CPAC & Events Coordinator
Jackie Anderson Y Director of Policy and Public Affairs
Jackie Arends Y
Michi Iljazi Y Director of Government Affairs
Priscilla O'Shaughnessy Y
Terry Schilling Y
Tyler Muench Y Policy Analyst
Francis Finnegan Y Y Y
Grace Morgan Y Y Y
Matt Smith Y Y
Sabrina Schaeffer Y Y
Sarah Brown Y Development
Susan Marshall Y Executive Assistant
Larry Hart Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Director of Government Relations
Amanda Bunning Y Y
Jessica Springer Y Y
Monica Sansonetti Y Y
Amanda Want Y
José Cárdenas Y
Larry Beasley Y
Carol A. Apelt Y Y Director of Operations
Lauren Bullard Y Y Deputy Director of Government Relations
Denise Passero Y
JodyLynn Tedford Y Operations and Development Assistant
John Eddy Y
Tom Robinson Y
Vinh Nguyen Y Y Director of Events and Conferences
Meghan Snyder Y Communications Director
Dennis Whitfield Y Y Y Y Y Consultant
Melissa Bowman Y Y Y Director of Operations
Gregg Keller Y Y 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 Y Y Y Y Y CPAC Director
Vincent Galatro Y Y Y Y Manager of New Media and Special Projects
Joseph Logue Y Y Y Assistant CPAC Director
Lynn Bradshaw Y Y Executive Director of Development
Harrison Fritz Y Development Associate
Michael Sebring Y Government Relations Associate
David A. Keene Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Jameson G. Campaigne, Jr. Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Secretary, ACU
Thomas Winter Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y
Tish Leonard Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Assistant to the Chairman
Donald J. Devine Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Second Vice Chairman, Donald Devine Company
Heather Madden Y Y Y Y Director of Corporate and Foundation Dev.
Jennifer Needam Y Y 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 Y Y Y Y Y Y Administrative Director
Elizabeth Neaton Y Finance Assistant
Elizabeth Moody Y Y Director of Operations
J. William Lauderback Y Y Y Executive Vice President
Jonathan A. Moody Y Membership Director
Marc E. Rotterman Y Y Y Y Y Y Y Treasurer
Stacie Rumenap Y Y Y Deputy Director/CPAC Director
Marjorie Blakely Y Y Director of Development
Suzanne Bowdey Y Y Projects Director
Stacey Chamberlin Y Y Y Projects Director
Daniel Lawrence Y Y 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 Y Y Y Administrative Director
Peter Cleary Y Y Deputy Director/ Director, CPAC
W. Stephen Thayer Y Executive Director
Kerri Houston Y Y Y 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 Josi Y Y Executive Director
Mark Hendrickson Y Y Project Director
Tom Gardner Y Y Director for On-Line Communications
Mike Hardiman Y Legislative Director
Stephen F. Kulisek Y Assistant to the Executive Director
Anthony Curcio Y Administrative Director
Patricia Fava Y 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]

Related Organizations

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