The American Conservative Union (ACU) was started by conservative icon William F. Buckley, Jr., in 1964, and soon became an influential conservative think tank. However, the ACU has been liberalized, and is no longer anchored by Mr. Buckley's Christian conservative roots. Likewise, you don’t have to possess Mr. Buckley’s intellect to realize that when your “conservative” leadership is featured on Jihad Watch, your mission of conservative advocacy is pretty much toast.
The American Conservative Union has been grading Congress for years, but in February 2011, after Al Cardenas became ACU’s president they expanded their ratings to include the state legislatures of Florida, Nevada, Ohio, Virginia, and North Carolina. However, their FL legislative ratings offended me, which is what prompted this little investigation.
The first part of this article evaluates the ACU rating system in Florida, and then examines the troubling leadership at the ACU, beginning with Mr. David A. Keene who became the ACU Chairman in 1984. Mr. Keene held that position until February 2011, when Mr. Al Cardenas became Chairman.
The ACU ratings of the Florida legislature lists senior Republican State Senator Jack Latvala not only as a conservative, but as a Defender of Liberty; politicians who score 100% on the ACU’s ratings. But how conservative can Senator Latvala be if he received an award of the same magnitude in April 2011, from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)?
Senator Latvala was given the ACLU’s Defender of Freedom award for his work and vote against a bill that would have required woman getting an abortion to have a ultrasound done, before their abortion. The evidence opposing the ACU’s conservative rating for Senator Latvala is overwhelming, and as you might expect, Senator Latvala’s progressive accomplishments are not a secret; his press clippings include:
“State Sen. Jack Latvala leveraged his vote to slow down conservative march,” May 2011
“Jack Latvala: The dark star of the Florida Senate,” May 2011
“Left-Coast-Lovable Jack Latvala Anything But Republican St. Petersburg senator spent the session sabotaging conservative leadership, May 2011”
“A message to the Tea Partiers looking to take out Sen. Jack Latvala: Bring. It. On.” May 2011
Perhaps the key to the Senator’s good rating is that in 1999, Al Cardenas was the Chairman of the Republican Party of Florida while Senator Latvala was the Senate Republican leader. They know each other, and share the same proclivity for raising taxes to pay for their beloved big government bankrupting rail systems.
While Chairman of ACU, Mr. Cardenas even registered as a lobbyist for the High Speed Rail project in Florida, despite that fact that Republican Governor Rick Scott opposed the High Speed Rail project. This lobbying appears to be outside the limits of the ACU’s first principle, i.e., “It is our belief that the Constitution is designed to guarantee the free exercise of the inherent rights of the individual through strictly limiting the power of government.” How much commitment and fidelity to a cause can you have when you are representing both sides of an issue?
In addition, Mr. Cardenas is a Senior Partner at Tew Cardenas, a law firm that does lobbying for business and government entities, under the brand name The Advocacy Group. While scanning their client list, I was stunned to see the Miami-Dade County Clerk of Court, Mr. Harvey Ruvin, listed as a client.
Mr. Ruvin is no ordinary bureaucrat. Mr. Ruvin was Vice Chairman, of the Executive Committee of ICLEI, an organization created to usurp national sovereignty and bring cities from all over the world under UN control under the rubric of “sustainable development.” ICLEI was founded at the UN in 1990, is headquartered in Bonn, Germany, and Mr. Ruvin is credited with helping to create ICLEI!
The goal of ICLEI is to have America placed under the sovereignty of the UN! This massive effort has been underway for 20 years, and they have made significant progress as outlined in a 40 Chapter document called Agenda 21. (List of ICLEI members.)
Firms often times represent unsavory clients, which is needed to maintain our system of freedom. But how do you covertly represent and enable an ideology that threatens the very foundation of that system, while at the same time presenting yourself as a conservative leader to your citizen “clients?” Is that not a betrayal of your conservative followers?
In 2009, then Chairman David Keene became embroiled in a lobbying controversy when the ACU sent a letter to FedEx stating: “We stand with FedEx in opposition to this legislation, and we will organize an aggressive grassroots campaign to stop the legislation in the Senate.” However, it would also cost FedEx $2.1 million to have the ACU stand with them. After FedEx declined the offer, the ACU replied: “But after looking into FedExʼs claims, we realized that FedEx was not telling the truth.” (Emphasis added.) The story and letters are posted on Politico.
In January 2011, ACU Board Members Grover Norquist and Suhail Khan, were featured on Jihad Watch! In October 2011, Virginia Congressman Frank Wolf was so concerned about Norquist’s negative influence in the Capitol, he delivered a speech to Congress about Norquist’s association with several unsavory groups and individuals.
Pamela Geller reports: “Grover Norquist almost singlehandedly ushered Islamic supremacist leaders into America's highest levels of government -- subversives, the Islamic fifth column. He gave them unparalleled access.”
“Grover Norquist was on the Islamic payroll before and after the carnage of September 11. Gaffney revealed Norquist's close ties to Abdurahman Alamoudi, who is now serving twenty-three years in prison for financing jihad activity”
While Norquist likes to ply his lobbying efforts in a fairly stealthy mode, his ACU BFF, Suhail Khan is not so shy. Khan lobbied Congress to soften up their opposition to the developer of the Ground Zero Mosque, and addressed the Muslim Brotherhood front group, the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) and proclaimed: “The early Muslims loved death, dying for the sake of almighty Allah, more than the oppressors loved life,” said an impassioned Khan, who wiped away tears throughout his speech. “This must be the case when we are fighting. What are our oppressors going to do with a people like us? We are prepared to give our lives for the cause of Islam.” (Video)
While there are conservatives at the ACU, it’s painfully clear there has been a power shift to the left, and in fact, the ACU’s actions appear to be neutralizing conservative progress.
Ask yourself if the ACU’s certification of counterfeit conservatives (FL Sen. Latvala), their support for Islamic extremists, and the usurpation of our sovereignty by implementing Agenda 21, are conservative or socialist policies? Would William F Buckley, Jr., be happy with the operations of the ACU, or the lobbying causes of their Chairman?
We are free to make whatever money we need, but the conservatives in my circle will not endanger our Liberty for a dollar. Churchill said: “Courage is rightly esteemed the first of human qualities because it is the quality which guarantees all others.” Conservatives need to have the moral courage to say not only “No,” but “hell No” to the ACU until they clean house. Our Founders were not perfect, but they had the fidelity, honor, and duty to act in the best interests of the country. Unless we demand the same from the ACU, GOP, and other conservative organizations, America will continue its coerced descent into socialism.
In the interim, if you are looking for conservative-liberal scorecards on politicians the Club for Growth is an excellent alternative, and one of the few organizations that is steadfastly conservative.