Scott Jordan

McCain's secret New Orleans stop?

Republican presidential nominee John McCain is in Louisiana today, with a 2:30 p.m. fundraiser in Kenner (at $2,300 a pop) the biggest thing on his public schedule. But according to Fox News , there’s another item on his agenda today that you likely won’t read, hear or see anything about in the media.

McCain is allegedly making a speech in New Orleans today to the Council for National Policy , the organization of religious and social conservatives that gathers three times annually to strategize on implementing their beliefs into public policy. A 2004 New York Times article notes :

“The council was founded in 1981, just as the modern conservative movement began its ascendance. The Rev. Tim LaHaye, an early Christian conservative organizer and the best-selling author of the Left Behind novels about an apocalyptic Second Coming, was a founder. His partners included Paul Weyrich, another Christian conservative political organizer who also helped found the Heritage Foundation. ... Over the years, the council has become a staging ground for conservative efforts to make the Republican Party more socially conservative.”

One of the hallmarks of the group is its secrecy. The NYT also noted:

“The media should not know when or where we meet or who takes part in our programs, before of after a meeting,” a list of rules obtained by The New York Times advises the attendees. The membership list is “strictly confidential.” Guests may attend “only with the unanimous approval of the executive committee.’’ In e-mail messages to one another, members are instructed not to refer to the organization by name, to protect against leaks.”

Gov. Bobby Jindal’s chief of staff, Timmy Teepell, has an association with CNP dating back to at least 1998 , and Woody Jenkins — currently running to replace Richard Baker as Louisiana's sixth district congressman — was CNP’s first executive director.