In 2011, the American Conservative Union, which runs the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), issued a scathing report denouncing Frank Gaffney of the Center for Security Policy for his crusade against ACU board members Grover Norquist and Suhail Kahn.
Gaffney has spent years claiming that Norquist and Kahn are secret agents of the Muslim Brotherhood and spearheaded a movement to boycott CPAC because of its ties to the two conservative figures. The ACU found that not only were Gaffney’s claims completely specious and unfounded, but that they were also rooted in anti-Muslim bias and personal vendettas, and the organization kicked him out of the conference.
But that was then, and though Gaffney has not repudiated or apologized for his previous attacks, he is being welcomed back to CPAC this year and his Center for Security Policy will even run several panel events as a “supporting sponsor.”
One of CSP’s panels will feature Jerry Boykin, the Family Research Council official who has also accused Norquist of secretly working for the Muslim Brotherhood. Glenn Beck, who has been campaigning to remove Norquist from the board of the National Rifle Association based largely on Gaffney’s smears, will be delivering the closing address at the conference.
By appearing at CPAC, Gaffney and Boykin may be making themselves vulnerable to charges that they themselves are aiding the Muslim Brotherhood since they believe the ACU has been compromised by the extremist group’s supposed agent, Norquist.
But it seems that CPAC and its ACU parent have just become more comfortable with far-right conspiracy theorists taking the stage, even the ones who believe the ACU is part of an alleged Muslim Brotherhood influence operation to subvert the conservative movement and bring down the U.S.
CPAC, after all, is hosting the country’s most prominent right-wing conspiracy theorist: Donald Trump.
The ACU, which once rejected a proposed CPAC panel questioning President Obama’s birthplace, is now hosting one of the country’s most notorious birthers.
Perhaps Trump and Gaffney, a fellow birther, will be able to hold a panel on the topic next year.