Longtime Republican pollster Kellyanne Conway and Stephen Bannon, [...] have been members of the secretive Council for National Policy (CNP).
The CNP is an intensely secretive and shadowy group of what The New York Times once described as “the most powerful conservatives in the country.” It is so tight-lipped that it tells people not to admit their membership or even name the group. Revealing when or where the group meets, or what it discusses, is also forbidden. The organization, which can only be joined by invitation and at a cost of thousands of dollars, strives mightily to keep its membership rolls secret.
The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), which publishes Hatewatch, obtained a copy this spring of the CNP’s 2014 membership directory, a closely held document. It shows that Conway was a member of the CNP’s executive committee that year, and that Bannon was a regular member. It is not known if they remain.
The CNP is not controversial so much for the conservatives who dominate it [...] as for the many real extremists who are included.
They include people like Michael Peroutka, a neo-Confederate who for years was on the board of the white supremacist League of the South; Jerome Corsi, a strident Obama “birther” and the propagandist hit man responsible for the “Swift boating” of John Kerry; Joseph Farah, who runs the wildly conspiracist “news” operation known as WorldNetDaily; Mat Staver, the Liberty Counsel leader who has worked to re-criminalize gay sex..."