Who Makes Up the Council for National Policy?

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Paul Nelson, KSL NewsradioVice President Dick Cheney will be speaking to the Council for National Policy at the Grand America Hotel today. That information is probably more than the CNP would want you to know.

Who makes up this very secretive group?

Some Web sites say it has the real power behind the Republican Party. However, after talking with Utah Republican Party Vice Chair Todd Weiler, that doesn't seem to be the case.

"I had not heard of them before I learned about Vice President Cheney's trip here," Weiler said.

Some news agencies say people like Oliver North, Tom DeLay, Alan Keyes and Pat Robertson are members, some of the wealthiest and most influential conservatives in the world. However, no matter how influential the CNP is, Weiler doesn't believe any one group can steer the Republican party.

"The Republican party involves millions and millions of people, and I think everyone kind of pulls the party in their own way," Weiler said.

Getting in touch with the CNP is tough. E-mails I sent to The Council went unanswered, and the phone numbers posted on so-called "unofficial" Web sites don't work.

After many phone calls, I spoke with some insiders who will not allow the release of their names or any recording of their voice. They deny having any desire to run the Republican party. In fact, insiders say some members want to separate the conservative movement from the Republican party. But it's their secrecy that gets the most criticism.

Utah Democratic Party Chair Wayne Holland said, "It's a tota[ly] different form of the way we think public business and public policy should be developed."

Holland says any time you put high-powered people in a secret meeting, you're asking or trouble.

"When you see that group happen to meet in secret, and they're always accusing others of conspiracy, maybe they need to look in the mirror," Holland said.

However, insiders say there are reasons for secrecy. They say their meetings help them strategize their political plans, and the media is kept out because they don't want every passing conversation to end up on the front page.

Furthermore, they deny any rumors about how they're mapping out who will be the next Republican presidential candidate.

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