According to official letters obtained by The Daily Caller, the gay conservative group GOProud and the ultraconservative John Birch Society won’t be co-sponsoring the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in 2012.
The decision was reached by a full vote of the American Conservative Union’s board of directors. The ACU organizes and hosts CPAC each year.
Representatives of GOProud and the John Birch Society were notified of the decision via mail Friday afternoon.
The decision comes after GOProud’s 2011 sponsorship sparked severe criticism from ACU board members, and prompted several social conservative groups to boycott the event. The controversy reached a boiling point when GOProud’s chairman called respected ACU board member Cleta Mitchell “a nasty bigot.”
Long considered a fringe group, the John Birch Society’s sensationalist accusations (such as saying Dwight Eisenhower was a “dedicated, conscious agent of the Communist conspiracy“) once prompted William F. Buckley to effectively banish the group from the conservative movement.
Various blocs of CPAC board members find both GOProud and the Birchers highly offensive — and for entirely different reasons.
Meanwhile, one controversial conservative activist actually survived the ACU board vote.
Despite accusing Americans for Tax Reform’s Grover Norquist and ACU board member Suhail Khan, during his 2011 CPAC speech, of being in league with the Muslim Brotherhood, it was decided that conservative activist David Horowitz would not be precluded from participating in the future.
ACU’s decision to revisit past decisions regarding CPAC has been expected. After the departure of longtime ACU Chairman David Keene last year, it was predictable that ACU’s board of directors would address lingering questions surrounding past co-sponsors and speakers.
“As Chairman [Al] Cardenas said following his election [as chairman of the ACU], given controversies surrounding a few CPAC 2011 co-sponsors, we would take a look at what would be the most appropriate path going forward,” explained ACU communications director Kristy Campbell.
“Given the concerns raised by a number of our Board members,” she said, “Chairman Cardenas exercised his option to take these issues to a vote of the Board — which has been done in the past.”
Campbell stressed that although GOProud and the John Birch Society would no longer have a formal sponsorship role at the gathering, “individual members of these organizations are welcome and encouraged to attend CPAC. ”
CPAC is the largest gathering of conservatives each year. Past speakers have included leading conservatives, ranging from Rush Limbaugh to Ronald Reagan. The 2012 CPAC will take place in Washington, DC in February.