Committee for the Survival of a Free Congress

From SourceWatch
Jump to: navigation, search

The Committee for the Survival of a Free Congress, which evolved into the Free Congress Foundation, "became the prototype for an organization specializing in training and promoting candidates and targeting vulnerable incumbents." It was founded in 1974 by Paul M. Weyrich and "funded by reactionary beer mogul Joseph Coors."[1][2]

"Coors's most enduring contribution to the conservative cause was the establishment of the Heritage Foundation, begun with a $250,000 grant from Coors in 1973. (The next year, Coors collaborated with the conservative guru Paul Weyrich to form Committee for the Survival of a Free Congress, out of which evolved the Free Congress Foundation.)"[3]

"The struggle of power on the right in 74 gave birth to the Committee for the Survival of a Free Congress (CSFC), which was created by top officials of the New Right. Prior to the formation of CSFC they contributed to the Conservative Victory Fund (CVF) of the (American Conservative Union) ACU but official [sic] of the New Right realized that the organization was not as efficient as it should be because it employed no representatives in the field. Thus they began to contribute to CSFC, which successfully raised twice as much as CVF did in the same period of time. ... CSFC is one of the top financed New Right's pacs. CSFC doesn't donate to the campaign of incumbents. The success of CSFC can be contributed to the skillful placement of well-trained representatives in the field."[4]


"Although it leads the 'Dirty Dozen' list, the Coors family and its firm have a long history of association with right wing Christian movements. Joe Coors was notorious for his battle against union representation for beer plant workers. In 1971, Coors joined with Bill Bright (founder of Campus Crusade for Christ) and strategist Paul Weyrich to form a political alliance. By 1974, the trio had established the Heritage Foundation and the Committee for the Survival of a Free Congress. Heritage Foundation went on to become one of the most influential think tanks in America, providing support and research for Ronald Reagan and, later, George Herbert Walker Bush. The Committee was established to select and fund candidates in Congressional races who represented right-wing evangelical sentiments, particularly on issues such as abortion and Gay rights."[5]


"In the early 1970s, Paul Weyrich had already linked with the Coors family which funded the start-up of the Heritage Foundation in the early 1970s. In 1974, with money from the Coors family (and the Coors family is not exactly a bastion of minority-friendly sentiment), Weyrich also started the Committee for the Survival of a Free Congress, which later became the Free Congress Foundation. Since the beginning, the Heritage Foundation and the Free Congress Foundation have been led and/or received oversight by Weyrich, and their boards of directors are interlinked, sharing members back and forth.

"The Committee for the Survival of a Free Congress, targeted local elections, looking for candidates to back. The FCF required that the candidates they supported submit to a three-day workshop, and if the candidates toed the Weyrich party line, their elections would then receive campaign support from the CSFC.

"Richard Viguerie, king of the direct-mail fundraising industry in America, and the top national fundraiser at that time, worked with the CSFC in their direct-mail money-raising efforts."[6]

"Even the Free Congress Foundation's precursor, the Committee for the Survival of a Free Congress, used an anti-gay and anti-lesbian platform as a vehicle to attract and unite followers, and they were the forerunners in the national campaign to demonize homosexuality as a threat to Americans. Gays and lesbians had been so thoroughly suppressed that mainstream heterosexual America really knew little about the gay/lesbian community. Weyrich recognized early on that this ignorance could be manipulated into fear and then hatred--and then political power.[7] ...

"The Free Congress Foundation's efforts have been many; sometimes simply supporting a gay-hate group, sometimes sponsoring gatherings where anti-gay politicking is discussed, and sometimes actively working to demonize and scapegoat gays/lesbians. For instance, in 1977 the Committee for the Survival of a Free Congress -- the precursor to the Free Congress Foundation -- recommended cutoff of federal Legal Services Corporation assistance in legal matters involving gay and lesbian rights."[8]


" In 1976 (Newt Gingrich) sought endorsements from both the liberal National Committee for an Effective Congress and the conservative Committee for the Survival of a Free Congress."[9]


External links

Research Resources

  • James A. McClure Papers at the University of Idaho: Box 138: 5207-5213 Committee for the Survival of a Free Congress, 1975 (Correspondence) 7 folders and 5214-5222 Committee for the Survival of a Free Congress, 1975 (Mailings) 9 folders.
  • BLACKWELL, MORTON C.: Files, 1981-84 at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library: Box OA 12449 for CSFC (The Committee for the Survival of a Free Congress, Inc.) files.
  • Data compiled at University of Oregon and Carnegie-Mellon University 1978-81 from publications by the Interest Groups: "1979-81, Committee for the Survival of a Free Congress: All Issues; 1979-80, Committee for the Survival of a Free Congress: Economic Issues; 1979-80, Committee for the Survival of a Free Congress: Defense Issues; and 1979-80, Committee for the Survival of a Free Congress: Social Issues."
  • Robert M. Giaimo Papers (1956-1981) at the University of Connecticut Library: Box 142 Committee for the Survival of a Free Congress.
  • Family, Law and Democracy Report: 20-page magazine published monthly by Committee for the Survival of a Free Congress. The publication "includes articles that watch very closely the situations in the judicial and executive branches of government and comments on how developments will affect family issues." At the time, subscriptions were available from 721 Second Street NE, Washington, DC 20002, telephone (202) 546-2822, FAX (202) 546-7689.

Articles

  • Congressman Lawrence "Larry" Patton McDonald served "on the boards of the Conservative Caucus and the Committee for the Survival of a Free Congress." Also see The New American article on McDonald.
  • Reader's Companion to U.S. Women's History, "Pro-Choice and Antiabortion Movements": "Paul Weyrich, founder of the Heritage Foundation and the Committee for the Survival of a Free Congress, was the first leader to make opposition to abortion a litmus test for candidates. Richard Viguerie, the fund-raising and direct-mail pioneer, used the abortion issue to raise millions of dollars for conservative efforts. Kevin Phillips, who founded the Conservative Caucus, mobilized the conservative grassroots."
  • Jason Gray Zengerle, Old Party, New Energy, The American Prospect, no date (circa 2000): "Between 1974 and 1977 these three men turned samizdats into publications, discussion groups into think tanks, and businessmen's lunches into political action committees (PACs). William F. Buckley's National Review provided the intellectual underpinnings. Viguerie, the original guru of direct mail, supplied the mailing lists. Phillips and Weyrich, the founders of the Conservative Caucus and the Committee for the Survival of a Free Congress (CSFC), did the actual organizing. Together, they recruited numerous single-interest groups--veterans, pro-lifers, tax protesters, family advocates, evangelists, and small businessmen--to their cause. In just three years, these men organized the right wing of the Republican Party into a cohesive coalition with considerable political might. By the 1978 congressional midterm elections, the New Right was ready to slay the doddering Republican Party and strike out on its own."