April 16, 2016
“The whole art of government consists in the art of being honest.” —Thomas Jefferson
In my last article regarding the attempted coup within Phyllis Schlafly’s Eagle Forum, I explained how this attempted takeover by six Eagle Forum leaders was done basically because they disagreed with Phyllis’s endorsement of Donald Trump, who she called, “America’s last hope,” but there is more.
It’s All About Money
In a recent radio interview, Phyllis stated their real goal was to take control of the organization and get their hands on the assets and the lists. Why would they want to do that, and why did they come out last January and state that Eagle Forum was endorsing Ted Cruz?
The answer lies in the fact that there are two organizations within Eagle Forum. Phyllis’s son, John Schlafly, explained that last Monday’s vote was regarding the 501(c)3, educationally oriented non-profit organization of Eagle Forum, not the 501(c)4 organization that allows it to support political issue campaigns.
“The two organizations have different boards,” John explained, “and those opposing Phyllis only have a majority in the 501(c)4.” This is where the money lies, and money that can be given to candidates. A 501(c)4 allows endorsements of candidates. The 501(c)3 allows tax free status as a charitable foundation by the IRS, but endorsements of candidates are prohibited.
The problem is that the 501(c)4 controls the name Eagle Forum, meaning the future of the organization will be uncertain if the 501(c)4 leaders succeed in ousting Phyllis Schlafly as its chairperson and CEO. So far they have failed in this attempt.
The six women involved in this attempted takeover were backing Ted Cruz as well as many of them backing a Constitutional Convention which Phyllis has always taken a stance against. If they could take over, then the assets in the 501(c)4 would be theirs to use as they wished.
Take Note: Donald J. Trump does not want or need private monies for his campaign and has refused all but minor donations from American citizens who support him. Ted Cruz’s campaign has accepted monies from people he will be beholden to in the event he is elected, and these entities are corporate, banking, political, and religious.
It appears the intended goal of these women was to take control of the assets of Eagle Forum in order to put these monies behind the candidate of their choice, Ted Cruz.
Eagle Forum Responses
I received a huge number of responses to my previous article, the majority of which were from Eagle Forum members who agreed with what I stated in the article, and were outraged over what was done. Here is a letter to me from Jim Schindler of Colorado Eagle Forum:
Your article is accurate for the most part. However, the reference to Cruz hailing Eagle Forum’s endorsement from 20 state leaders is from back in January of this year.
We regret adding our names to the list endorsing him and have subsequently withdrawn our support of him, as have others. I can confirm our retraction as well as one other. Jayne Schindler and Jim Schindler of Colorado Eagle Forum, and Susan Ellsworth of Arizona Eagle Forum.
Those who have engulfed on this hostile takeover of Eagle Forum are receiving many communications outwardly criticizing this coup attempt, so I would imagine that there will be more confirmations of withdrawals from the list of Cruz supporters offered back in January 2016!
Phyllis Schlafly has earned, and is receiving support from around the country. This is truly an American tragedy!
I wrote back to Mr. Schindler and thanked him for writing to me, and asked if he would allow me to use his statements. He then sent me another email which made it clear that many of the Eagle Forum members and officers were very angry at the attempted coup. He sent me the following letter from Joan F. Langenberg, Former President of Missouri Eagle Forum, and Mr. Schindler’s comments follow.
Dear Group of 6,
I and many others are appalled at your meeting this past Monday, and the actions decided upon. Your attempt at a hostile takeover of Eagle Forum is truly unconscionable. I am particularly shocked at the actions of Anne Cori. For a daughter to treat her mother in such an egregious and disrespectful way is unspeakable. And to present your betrayal of Phyllis and Eagle Forum as a noble action is beyond hypocrisy. Everyone knows that this deceptive action to take control is because of Phyllis’s endorsement of Trump and your opposition to Ed Martin. Why didn’t your group have the honesty and courage to state these things in your press release? It’s incredible to me that you would be willing to destroy a person, tear a family apart, and betray an organization over the endorsement of a Republican candidate that many conservative leaders have endorsed. And to demand the resignation of Ed Martin, who has been an excellent leader and a loyal friend to Phyllis, is outrageous.
If you were that upset with the Trump endorsement and Ed Martin’s leadership – the proper and right action would be to resign – not to maneuver an illegal takeover and demand resignations. It’s very noteworthy that all of Phyllis’s 5 other children are solidly behind her. Finally, to betray Phyllis with false rumors and to take these despicable actions against Eagle Forum is antithetical to the moral values upon which Eagle Forum’s foundation is built.
All of you should be ashamed of yourselves.
Joan F. Langenberg Former President of Missouri Eagle Forum
I believe Ms. Langenberg’s letter is really quite telling of how the majority of Eagle Forum member and officers truly feel. Here is the response to Ms. Langenberg by Mr. Schindler:
You have eloquently stated all of our exact feelings about this tragic action by a select few who have obviously combined both motive and opportunity to move on their personal biases.
It is truly shameful, and we support Phyllis, Ed, John and Andy and the rest of the Schlafly family who will stand true to this most wonderful leader.
It is very much a charade to cover the real reasons for this opposition, shrouded in 'love', yet specifically aimed at personal grievances and retribution for Phyllis' endorsement of Trump.
We know personally of one of the '6' who would have absolutely no interest in participating in the coup if the focus was not specifically on payback for the Trump endorsement.
Jayne and Jim Schindler, Colorado Eagle Forum Co-directors
Phyllis Schlafly’s April 10th letter regarding this attempted takeover, she stated, in part, the following:
In recent days, you may have heard about some issues we are having at Eagle Forum. I am grateful for your concern for me and our work.
For reasons that are not entirely clear to me, some people have been working to attack me and Eagle Forum. My disappointment is compounded by the fact that these are people with whom I have worked closely in the past. I have asked them to resign from the Board immediately so that we may continue our important work.
Phyllis also stated in radio interviews that Eagle Forum members could, of course, support and vote for anyone they wished. However, Eagle Forum is run by Phyllis Schlafly, and Schlafly has endorsed Donald J. Trump.
Once again we see the disastrous results of involvement with the likes of Ted Cruz who will take advantage of any source to gain both endorsements and campaign funds.
Like the majority of Eagle Forum members and leaders, I too am appalled at the actions of these six women. At the age of 91, Phyllis Schlafly surely didn’t need to go through this stressful attack. My worries are what will happen to the organization once Phyllis is no longer with us. I pray they have put protections in place that will disable any future attempts to destroy Eagle Forum.
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© 2016 Kelleigh Nelson - All Rights Reserved
Kelleigh Nelson has been researching the Christian right and their connections to the left, the new age, and cults since 1975. Formerly an executive producer for three different national radio talk show hosts, she was adept at finding and scheduling a variety of wonderful guests for her radio hosts. She and her husband live in Knoxville, TN, and she has owned her own wholesale commercial bakery since 1990. Prior to moving to Tennessee, Kelleigh was marketing communications and advertising manager for a fortune 100 company in Ohio. Born and raised in Chicago, Illinois, she was a Goldwater girl with high school classmate, Hillary Rodham, in Park Ridge, Illinois. Kelleigh is well acquainted with Chicago politics and was working in downtown Chicago during the 1968 Democratic convention riots. Kelleigh is presently the secretary for Rocky Top Freedom Campaign, a strong freedom advocate group.
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