Concerned Women for America
Concerned Women for America (CWA) is a conservative women's organization that describes its goal as "helping our members across the country bring Biblical principles into all levels of public policy." Mother Jones describes CWA as "a conservative anti-feminist operation," while the Southern Poverty Law Center identified CWA as one of the most influential anti-gay groups in the United States.
CWA describes its mission as "to protect and promote Biblical values among all citizens -- first through prayer, then education, and finally by influencing our society -- thereby reversing the decline in moral values in our nation." According to its website, CWA focuses on seven core issues, which it lists as "sanctity of life," "defense of family," "education," "religious liberty," "national sovereignty," "sexual exploitation," and "support for Israel."
The Koch brothers -- David and Charles -- are the right-wing billionaire co-owners of Koch Industries. As two of the richest people in the world, they are key funders of the right-wing infrastructure, including the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and the State Policy Network (SPN). In SourceWatch, key articles on the Kochs include: Koch Brothers, Koch Industries, Americans for Prosperity, American Encore, and Freedom Partners.
- 1 Ties to the Koch Brothers
- 2 News and Controversies
- 3 Involvement in Elections
- 4 Funding
- 5 Personnel
- 6 Former Personnel
- 7 Contact Information
- 8 Articles and Resources
Ties to the Koch Brothers
CWA was part of the Koch brothers' $400 million network in the 2012 election cycle. It has received substantial funding from the Koch donor network in recent years. The Kochs' Freedom Partners gave CWA $8.15 million in 2012, and the Center to Protect Patient Rights gave donations totaling $1,678,073 to CWA between 2010 and 2012. DonorsTrust, a donor-advised fund to which the Kochs contribute, reported a $70,000 grant to CWA in 2010.
News and Controversies
Ties to Russian Anti-LGBT Law
CWA has been a co-sponsor of the World Congress of Families (WCF) since 1999, according to its own press releases. The Southern Poverty Law Center identifies WCF as an anti-LGBT hate group, and a detailed 2014 report by Mother Jones has described how "WCF has lent its support to anti-gay politics elsewhere in Eastern Europe -- Serbia, Lithuania, Romania -- but it has had its biggest and most notable successes in Russia."
In 2013, Russia passed a federal law banning "propaganda of non-traditional sexual orientations" that has been widely criticized for spurring discrimination and violence against LGBT Russians. In February 2014, CWA senior fellow Janice Shaw Crouch expressed support for Russia's policies at a press conference, saying, "I hope that the United States will learn some lessons, quite frankly, from Russia."
CWA only withdrew from a planned 2014 WCF conference in Moscow after Russian forces invaded Ukraine in March 2014.
Involvement in Elections
CWA's PAC, Concerned Women for America Legislative Action Committee, has reported several hundred thousand dollars in spending to the FEC in the past several election cycles. However, CWA itself has also been politically active as a "dark money" nonprofit, not required to disclose its donors or its spending on so-called "issue ads" during election cycles. Thus its total spending on political activities during a given election cycle can be much higher than the amount reported by its PAC.
2014 Election Cycle
As of July 2014, CWA's PAC had reported $117,322 in spending to the FEC for the 2014 election cycle.
CWA endorsed Baptist preacher Mark Harris in the North Carolina Republican Senate primary. Harris tweeted that he was "honored" to receive the endorsement, prompting LGBT rights group Equality NC to respond that "any endorsement from, and praise for, a group the Southern Poverty Law Center has classified as a hate group -- citing anti-LGBT statements equating homosexuality with pedophilia and accusations 'homosexual activists' fabricate hate crime reports -- should make North Carolinians reconsider their vote."
2012 Election Cycle
In the 2012 cycle, CWA's PAC reported a total of $295,516 in spending to the FEC. The bulk of the spending, according to CWA's filings, went to "fundraising" (70 percent) and "administrative" (29 percent) expenses. According to the Washington Post, CWA organized a get-out-the-vote campaign for conservative Christian women.
CWA also reported direct contributions to four candidates:
- Robert Aderholt (R-AL): $250
- Deb Fischer (R-NE): $250
- Richard Mourdock (R-IN): $1,000
- Mitt Romney (R): $250
CWA Spends $6M on Anti-ACA Ads in Battleground States
CWA spent $6 million on television ads attacking the Affordable Care Act. One 60-second ad, titled "Care," began running June 20, 2012 and ran in Iowa, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Virginia, and Wisconsin. Mother Jones described the ad buy as "unusually large" for the group, noting that $6 million "vastly exceed[ed] the action committee's entire budget from the past several years."
As described by the Huffington Post, the ad "warn[ed] that the White House-backed health care law might limit patient care and increase the federal deficit."
CWA received over $8.4 million from the Koch-tied Freedom Partners from 2012 to 2013, over $1.3 million from the Koch-tied TC4 Trust in 2011, and over $1.6 million from the Koch-tied Center to Protect Patient Rights between 2010 and 2012, including $1.5 million in 2011.
CWA has received $80,100 from DonorsTrust in 2007 and 2010. DonorsTrust is considered a "donor-advised fund," which means that it divides its funds into separate accounts for individual donors, who then recommend disbursements from the accounts to different non-profits. Funds like DonorsTrust are not uncommon in the non-profit sector, but they do cloak the identity of the original donors because the funds are typically distributed in the name of DonorsTrust rather than the original donors. Many DonorsTrust funders have ties to the Koch brothers.
CWA has also received $30,000 from the Bill and Berniece Grewcock Foundation from 1998-2003, $30,000 from Free Enterprise America in 2011, $14,500 from the National Christian Foundation in 2012, $2,000 from the Deramus Foundation in 2011, and $2,000 from the Lynn & Foster Friess Family Foundation in 2002 and 2003.
As of July 2014:
- Penny Young Nance, CEO and president
- Janice Shaw Crousel, Executive Director and Senior Fellow
- Kenda Bartlett, Executive Director
- Mario Diaz, Legal Counsel
- Shari Rendall, Director of House Legislation
- Alison Howard, Communications Director
- Alexandria Paolozzi, Senate Legislative Director
- Caroline Biggs, Young Women for America Coordinator
- Beverly LaHaye - founder and chairman
- Wendy Wright - president
- Janice Shaw Crouse - senior fellow, Beverly LaHaye Institute
- Matt Barber, Policy Director for Cultural Issues, now with Liberty University Law School and Liberty Counsel
Concerned Women for America
1015 Fifteenth St. N.W., Suite 1100
Washington, D.C. 20005
Phone: (202) 488-7000
FAX: (202) 488-0806
Articles and Resources
Related SourceWatch Articles
- Concerned Women for America, People for the American Way, accessed March 12, 2008.
- Steven Gardiner, "Concerned Women for America: A Case Study", Feminism and Women's Studies, August 28, 2006.
- Ronnee Schreiber, Righting Feminism: Conservative Women and American Politics, Oxford University Press, June 2008. ISBN 0195331818 ISBN 978-0195331813
- Concerned Women for America, About CWA, organizational website, accessed July 17, 2014.
- Stephanie Mencimer, "Who's Paying for $6 Million of New Anti-Obamacare Ads?," Mother Jones, June 27, 2012.
- Southern Poverty Law Center, "A Dozen Major Groups Help Drive the Religious Right’s Anti-Gay Crusade," Intelligence Report, Spring 2005.
- Concerned Women for America, Our History, organizational website, accessed July 17, 2014.
- Concerned Women for America, Issues, organizational website, accessed July 17, 2014.
- Matea Gold, "Koch-backed political network, built to shield donors, raised $400 million in 2012 elections," Washington Post, January 5, 2014.
- Concerned Women for America, "CWA Leader Helps Plan World Congress of Families," press release, October 26, 2011.
- Southern Poverty Law Center, "World Congress of Families Suspends Russia Conference," March 25, 2014.
- Hannah Levintova, "How US Evangelicals Helped Create Russia's Anti-Gay Movement," Mother Jones, February 21, 2014.
- Human Rights Watch, "Russia: Anti-LGBT Law a Tool for Discrimination," June 30, 2014.
- Owen Gibson and Shaun Walker, "Olympians urge Russia to reconsider 'gay propaganda' laws," The Guardian, January 30, 2014.
- J. Lester Feder, "Russia Is The Real Guardian Of Human Rights, Say Activists Fighting LGBT Advances," Buzzfeed, February 5, 2014.
- J. Lester Feder, "Leading Conservative Group Withdraws From “Pro-Life Olympics” In Moscow Over Russian Invasion Of Ukraine," Buzzfeed, March 11, 2014.
- Center for Responsive Politics, Concerned Women for America, 2014 spending report, accessed July 17, 2014.
- Mark Harris, Honored to receive the endorsement of CWPAC, the nation's largest public policy women's organization!, Twitter post, January 8, 2014. Accessed July 17, 2014.
- Equality NC, Equality NC Responds to Anti-LGBT Group's Endorsement of Senate Candidate, organizational press release, January 10, 2014.
- John Frank, "US Senate: Thom Tillis easily wins Republican primary, takes aim at Democrat Kay Hagan," News Observer, May 6, 2014.
- Center for Responsive Politics, Concerned Women for America, 2012 spending profile, accessed July 17, 2014.
- Center for Responsive Politics, Concerned Women for America, OpenSecrets.org 2012 direct expenditures report, accessed July 17, 2014.
- Concerned Women for America, "CWA Launches Multi-Million Dollar Ad Buy Highlighting Side Effects of Government-Run Health Care," press release, June 20, 2012.
- Peter H. Stone, "Koch Brothers, GOP Mega Donors, Help Bankroll Religious Conservative's 2012 Efforts," Huffington Post, August 5, 2012.
- American Bridge 21st Century Foundation, Concerned Women for America, ConservativeTransparency.org, accessed February 2015.
- Viveca Novak, Center for Responsive Politics, Center to Protect Patient Rights Gave Millions in 2011 to Outside Spenders in Election OpenSecrets.org, December 17, 2012.
- Rebekah Wilce, A Reporters' Guide to the "State Policy Network" -- the Right-Wing Think Tanks Spinning Disinformation and Pushing the ALEC Agenda in the States, PRWatch.org, April 4, 2013.
- Paul Abowd, Donors use charity to push free-market policies in states, Center for Public Integrity, February 14, 2013.
- Profile: Concerned Women for America, Media Transparency, accessed March 11, 2008.
- Concerned Women for America, Our Experts, organizational website, accessed July 17, 2014.