Last week, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) called for “transparency” about who is funding the ugly attacks against the construction of a proposed Islamic community center near Ground Zero in New York City. “There is no question there is a concerted effort to make this a political issue by some. And I join those who have called for looking into how is this opposition to the mosque being funded,” she told KCBS radio.
Naturally, right-wing opponents of the mosque blasted Pelosi for the comments, claiming the opposition is an organic, spontaneous uprising of concerned Americans. However, the coalition leading the charge against the mosque, the Coalition to Honor Ground Zero, appears to be funded by a major neo-conservative advocacy group, with deep-pocketed donors, and extensive connections to the conservative establishment. As Glenn Greenwald noted, the coalition’s website StopThe911Mosque.com is registered to the Center for Security Policy, a neo-conservative think tank and advocacy group run by Reagan defense official and far-right hawk Frank Gaffney:
The coalition’s partners include a who’s who of far-right pundits, politicians, and neo-conservative advocacy groups, such as Keep America Safe, the attack group formed by Liz Cheney and hawkish Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol. Another coalition partner is 911FamiliesForAmerica.org, a group run by Tim Sumner and Debra Burlingame, who also happens to be a founding board member of Keep America Safe.
The Center for Security Policy, of which Gaffney is the founder and president, appears to be leading the charge, thanks to its network of big-time right-wing funders like the Bradley Foundation and, presumably, its board of directors. Gaffney’s board includes the vice president of Van Scoyoc Associates, which touts itself as the “largest independent lobbying company in Washington, D.C,” with numerous defense clients and $15.93 million in lobbying revenue over the first six months of 2010. Other members of Gaffney’s board include the former vice president of Boeing’s missile defense division, and the head of the investment firm American Securities LP,
which is invested in, among other companies, Potbelly’s Sandwich Works. The group paid Gaffney $288,300 in 2008, according to its most recently available 990 form.
Another partner in StopThe911Mosque.com is the anti-Muslim hate group ACT! For America, whose “radical Islamophobe” founder Brigitte Gabriel has said that Muslims should not be allowed to hold public office, and that an American Muslim “cannot be a loyal citizen” because Islam is the “real enemy.”
The StopThe911Mosque.com campaign reflects Gaffney’s radical views, declaring that it is not opposed to only the “mega-mosque and Islamic Center at Ground Zero,” but to many mosques, because they may be “‘Trojan Horses,’ masquerading as places of worship when they in fact have proved to be sources of extremist activities and terror plots against America.” The New York mosque is just “a prominent example of this kind of ‘Trojan Horse.'” Indeed, the website also targets mosques in Boston and London.
The original post conflated American Securities LLC — whose leadership is not affiliated with the Center for Security Policy — with American Securities Management, L.P., whose managing director David P. Steinmann is on the Center’s board. American Securities LLC is the company invested in Potbelly Sandwich Works, not American Securities Management, L.P. We apologize for the error and have corrected the post for accuracy.