According to the National Journal, Missouri Congressman Todd Akin decided to stay in the Missouri U.S. Senate race after meeting with social conservatives at a Council for National Policy meeting this week in Tampa. Akin has come under fire from across the political spectrum for saying that “legitimate rape” cannot lead to pregnancy. Akin is scheduled to hold a press conference on Friday at 5:15pm Eastern time, reportedly to explain why he has decided to stay in the race.
The Council for National Policy is a highly secretive group of conservatives that convenes three times a year at undisclosed locations to discuss policy matters. Its membership list is strictly confidential, but it is rumored to feature some of the most prominent and powerful conservatives in the United States. Membership in the organization is by invitation only. Although it is a low-key organization, the CNP is very influential within the Republican Party. In 2007, Mitt Romney spoke at a CNP conference in Salt Lake City explaining the importance of family values.
According to its website,
“The Council for National Policy (CNP) brings together the country's most influential conservative leaders in business, government, politics, religion, and academia to hear and learn from policy experts on a wide range of issues. In addition, we provide a forum that allows an open exchange between participants, presenting numerous opportunities to cultivate ideas to help solve America's growing problems.”
In 2008, the organization even threatened to run a third party candidate in the event a pro-choice Republican were nominated for president. The group was founded in 1981 by Baptist pastor and fundamentalist Tim LaHaye, author of the famed Left Behind series of novels about a post-Armageddon world.