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Conservative Partnership Institute


In 2017, former congressman and retired Senator Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) founded  the Conservative Partnership Institute (CPI) as “a bulwark against the Swamp and a support system for conservatives looking to do the right thing,” according to the organization’s homepage. The site also claims that the goal of CPI’s Election Integrity Network is to get “key players across the country together to restore the election integrity safeguards the left is trying to tear down.” 

Based in Washington, D.C., CPI serves as an incubator for new right-wing groups and provides strategic communications support as well as training, staffing, and networking for conservative leaders on Capitol Hill. Since 2021, the organization has gained a reputation as a sort of “clubhouse” or “headquarters” for the insurrection.

Trump’s former Chief of Staff Mark Meadows became a senior partner at CPI after leaving the White House, joining one of Trump’s most extreme lawyers, Cleta Mitchell, as among the organization’s top leaders. CPI has also offered a home to former DOJ Assistant Attorney General Jeffrey Clark, an unnamed co-conspirator in the Justice Department’s indictment of Trump for conspiracy to defraud the U.S., and to the “Trump administration’s angel of darkness,” immigration hawk and the ex-president’s longtime adviser Stephen Miller (who oversees one of CPI’s sister organizations, America First Legal).

Since the insurrection, the growth of CPI has been phenomenal, jumping from $1.7 million in revenues in 2017 to $45 million in 2021, the most recent year for which there are tax filings. Billionaire businessman Richard Uihlein donated $1.25 million to CPI in the first half of 2020, and In 2022, it received $1 million from Trump’s Save America PAC to help conservative candidates win in the midterm elections. 

CPI also  partners with the Forge Leadership Network (FLN), an associate member of the State Policy Network based in Ohio and focused on recruiting and training new members of right-wing advocacy groups.

The Big Lie

  • Cleta Mitchell, a senior legal fellow at CPI and secretary of the ultra-conservative Bradley Foundation, played a pivotal role in shaping Trump’s post-election legal strategy. She participated in the Jan. 2, 2021 phone call during which Trump pressured Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (R) to “find” some 11,780 votes for him so that he could claim victory over Biden in the state. 
  • Mark Meadows, who was Trump’s chief of staff at the time, was also on that call. He joined CPI as a senior partner once he left the White House with the arrival of President Biden later that month.
  • As a senior partner at CPI, Meadows has established the State Freedom Caucus Network (SFCN), which launched with 22 member states and is dedicated to giving conservatives in state governments “the resources they need to win” on GOP-favored issues such as “election integrity, critical race theory, school choice, vaccine mandates, and police reform.” 
  • Mitchell, who chairs the CPI’s Election Integrity Network, has been outspoken about conservative efforts to control voting processes, repeating the standard GOP claim that their only goal is “making it harder to cheat,” as she told The New Yorker. “It’s time for conservatives to stand up to the left’s attempts to silence us in the public square and at the ballot box,” Mitchell told a reporter for The Washington Examiner.
  • Mitchell’s efforts helped to defeat the 2021 Democratic-sponsored bills known as the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act and the Freedom to Vote Act, both of which failed to pass on Capitol Hill.
  • Mitchell has also coordinated with the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and others to advance restrictions on voting in 33 states.