CPAC hires a new director

Matt K. Lewis Senior Contributor
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Not sure how I missed this, but the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) is getting a new director.

According to The Washington Times, Al Cardenas, the new head of the American Conservative Union (which organizes CPAC), has

hired a new CPAC director, Christopher Malagisi, who was director of political and media training at conservative-movement veteran Morton Blackwells (sic) Leadership Institute in Northern Virginia.

Mr. Malagisi, 29, is a political science adjunct professor at American University and teaches a course titled “History of the Conservative Movement: 1945-Present.”

Mr. Malagisi replaces Lisa De Pasquale as CPAC director.

“Lisa De Pasquale helped take CPAC to heights few thought possible and for that she has our sincere thanks,” said Gregg Keller, 33, the veteran campaign manager whom Mr. Cardenas installed as the new ACU executive director.

Christian Josi, a public relations guru who is a past CPAC director, told me: “From attendance to exposure to overall influence, ‘The Lisa Era’ took the conference to places I couldn’t imagine a decade ago…”  But Josi added, “I think she will be missed very much, but it’s perfectly natural for a new Chairman to bring in a new team … It is a very, very grueling job, running that thing, and I’m sure Lisa is probably looking forward to doing something new as well. She did five, for crying out loud. That’s a helluva lotta CPAC.”

As Josi notes, it is understandable that Cardenas would want his own team running what has become the most important conservative conference in America each year.  De Pasquale worked for the previous chairman, David Keene, for five years, so it’s reasonable to assume that she maintained a certain amount of loyalty to him.  Keene’s tenure, of course, was marked by controversies, including the debate over whether or not GoProud — a gay conservative group — should co-sponsor.

On the other hand, as Josi implies, organizing CPAC is a huge logistical challenge, and it appears there will be little institutional knowledge going forward.  It could be a bumpy conference this year.

Matt K. Lewis