Non-profit

American Principles Project

Website:

www.americanprinciplesproject.org

Location:

Arlington, VA

Tax ID:

26-4613397

Tax-Exempt Status:

501(c)(4)

Budget (2019):

Revenue: $783,435
Expenses: $891,017
Assets: $376,111

Founder:

Robert George

The American Principles Project is a right-of-center organization that opposes critical race theory and the promotion of “gender ideology” in schools, as well as in high school sports. [1]

The organization has been among the most vocal groups on the right opposing Big Tech companies and has warned Republicans in Congress that the major firms are trying to “coopt” the right with millions in donations. [2]

Princeton Professor Robert George and political strategist Frank Cannon founded the APP in 2009. [3]

Background

The American Principles Project is a conservative-leaning advocacy organization founded in 2009 by Princeton Professor Robert George and political strategist Frank Cannon. APP’s first political director was Jeff Bell, who was an aide for President Richard Nixon and a campaign aide for President Ronald Reagan in 1976. [4]

The APP contends that the American family is the only institution without an effective political action committee and that it wants to make families the most powerful, well-represented special interest group in Washington, D.C. [5] In June 2021, to assert itself as the lobbying group for American families, the APP launched its “Big Family” campaign, intended to set the group as comparable to “Big Tech,” “Big Pharma,” “Big Oil,” or similar advocacy entities. [6]

Education Policy

The APP focuses on school choice, protecting parental rights, preventing kids’ access to pornographic material, and opposing critical race theory and gender ideology in schools. [7] [8] [9]

The APP became one of the first organizations to oppose national Common Core education standards, issuing research about the standards and successfully lobbying Indiana to be the first state to repeal Common Core. [10]

The APP was one of the first conservative groups to draw attention to the controversy over transgender athletes in high school sports. The group contends that any person born male has an unfair advantage in competing against a person born female in athletic competition. [11]

Opposition to Tech Companies

In 2021, the American Principles Project warned Republicans in Congress about the influence of Big Tech companies through large donations to GOP politicians and conservative-leaning organizations. In a letter to Republican lawmakers, the APP argued “Big Tech has not only interfered in our elections and increasingly censored conservatives, but also simultaneously plotted to coopt the Republican Party and avoid scrutiny on the Right by pouring millions of dollars into center-right think tanks.” [12]

In 2021, the APP joined the liberal Public Citizen in support of legislation to prevent large tech companies from making major acquisitions of competitors. [13]

In October 2021, YouTube briefly banned APP’s channel but reinstated the channel after an appeal an outcry from other conservatives. YouTube said the ban was because APP aired an episode of “War Room” that featured an interview with former New York Mayor and Trump 2020 campaign lawyer Rudy Giuliani (R), who blamed Democrats for the January 6, 2021 Capitol Riot, in which Donald Trump supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol to stop the certification of Joe Biden’s Electoral College win. The APP believed the ban was over a video posted opposing “woke” and transgender ideology in schools. [14]

Political Influence

American Principles Project claims to be the only pro-family group that is involved directly in campaigns and elections. [15]

The APP sponsored a Republican presidential primary candidate debate in 2011 called the Palmetto Freedom Forum, and instead of having a panel from the media asking questions instead had founder Robert George, and two Republican politicians, then-U.S. Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina and then-U.S. Rep. Steve King of Iowa, ask questions of candidates. The debate was televised nationally on CNN. [16]

After the 2012 election, the Republican National Committee issued a review that called for de-emphasizing social issues. An APP affiliate published a report in response arguing in favor of focusing on social issues and noted that Republicans ran almost exclusively on economic issues during the 2012 election in which Democratic President Barack Obama had defeated Republican challenger Mitt Romney. [17]

For the 2016 presidential campaign, the APP published candidate scorecards on several issues. Most of the GOP candidates — including eventual nominee and winner Donald Trump — signed the pledge to sign the First Amendment Defense Act into law. [18]

The American Principles Project advocated and lobbied for state election reforms in 2021, including laws enhancing voter ID requirements for mail-in voting in states such as Georgia and Texas. [19]

Leadership

Terry Schilling is the president of the American Principles Project. He previously worked for

Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ), and former Sen. Sam Brownback (R-KS). Before that, he ran the campaign of his father, former Rep. Bobby Schilling (R-IL), in 2010. [20]

Sean Fieler is the chairman of the board of the American Principles Project. He is the president of Equinox Partners, L.P., and the Kuroto Fund, L.P. He has also been a board member of groups such as the Witherspoon Institute, the Manhattan Institute, the Acton Institute, and the Susan B. Anthony List. [21]

Joshua Pinho is the political director for the American Principles Project. Pinho started with the group in 2015. Previously, Pinho worked for the office of then-U.S. Rep. Jon Runyan (R-NJ), the Senate Committee on the Environment and Public Works, and the 2014 congressional campaign of Steve Lonegan in New Jersey’s 3rd District. [22]

Robert George is the founder of the American Principles Project and a member of the board.  He was the chairman of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, and a McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence at Princeton University. He has been a member of the President’s Council on Bioethics and a member of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. [23]

Frank Cannon is the founding president of the American Principles Project and is now a member of the board. He is also a political strategist for the Susan B. Anthony List. He is a former head of Students for Reagan in 1980. He also was a campaign advisor for the presidential campaigns of Jack Kemp in 1988 and John McCain in 2008. [24] [25]

References

  1. Mandel, Bethany. “Perspective: Move over Big Tech, Big Oil — it’s time for Big Family.” Deseret. June 15, 2021. Accessed November 24, 2021. https://www.deseret.com/2021/6/15/22533968/move-over-big-tech-big-oil-its-time-for-big-family-lobbying-american-principles-project ^
  2. Fung, Katherine. “Conservative Group Warns Republicans About Big Tech’s Influence on the Right.” Newsweek. June 7, 2021. Accessed November 24, 2021.https://www.newsweek.com/conservative-group-warns-republicans-about-big-techs-influence-right-1598133 ^
  3. “History.” American Principles Project. Accessed November 24, 2021. https://americanprinciplesproject.org/about/history-story/ ^
  4. “History.” American Principles Project. Accessed November 24, 2021. https://americanprinciplesproject.org/about/history-story/ ^
  5. “About.” American Principles Project. Accessed November 24, 2021.  https://americanprinciplesproject.org/about/ ^
  6. Mandel, Bethany. “Perspective: Move over Big Tech, Big Oil – It’s Time for Big Family.” Deseret News. Deseret News, June 15, 2021. https://www.deseret.com/2021/6/15/22533968/move-over-big-tech-big-oil-its-time-for-big-family-lobbying-american-principles-project. ^
  7. Mandel, Bethany. “Perspective: Move over Big Tech, Big Oil — it’s time for Big Family.” Deseret. June 15, 2021. Accessed November 24, 2021. https://www.deseret.com/2021/6/15/22533968/move-over-big-tech-big-oil-its-time-for-big-family-lobbying-american-principles-project ^
  8. “History.” American Principles Project. Accessed November 24, 2021. https://americanprinciplesproject.org/about/history-story/ ^
  9. “About.” American Principles Project. Accessed November 24, 2021.  https://americanprinciplesproject.org/about/ ^
  10. “History.” American Principles Project. Accessed November 24, 2021. https://americanprinciplesproject.org/about/history-story/ ^
  11. Peters, Jeremy. “A conservative push to make trans kids and school sports the next battleground in the culture war.” Seattle Times. November 4, 2019. Accessed November 24, 2021. https://www.seattletimes.com/nation-world/a-conservative-push-to-make-trans-kids-and-school-sports-the-next-battleground-in-the-culture-war/ ^
  12. Fung, Katherine. “Conservative Group Warns Republicans About Big Tech’s Influence on the Right.” Newsweek. June 7, 2021. Accessed November 24, 2021.https://www.newsweek.com/conservative-group-warns-republicans-about-big-techs-influence-right-1598133 ^
  13. Kovaleski, Dave. “Sens. Klobuchar, Cotton introduce bill to halt monopolies among online platforms.” Financial Regulation News. November 10, 2021. Accessed November 24, 2021.  https://financialregnews.com/sens-klobuchar-cotton-introduce-bill-to-halt-monopolies-among-online-platforms/ ^
  14. Olohan, Mary Margaret. “American Principles Project Back on YouTube After Backlash Ends Censorship.” The Daily Signal. October 13, 2021. Accessed November 24, 2021.  https://www.dailysignal.com/2021/10/13/american-principles-project-back-on-youtube-after-backlash-ends-censorship/ ^
  15. “About.” American Principles Project. Accessed November 24, 2021.  https://americanprinciplesproject.org/about/ ^
  16. [1] “History.” American Principles Project. Accessed November 24, 2021. https://americanprinciplesproject.org/about/history-story/ ^
  17.  “American Principles Project.” Library of Congress. Accessed November 24, 2021. https://www.loc.gov/item/lcwaN0011055 ^
  18. “History.” American Principles Project. Accessed November 24, 2021. https://americanprinciplesproject.org/about/history-story/ ^
  19. Derysh, Igor. “Conservative groups are writing GOP voter suppression bills — and spending millions to pass them.” Salon. March 27, 2021. Accessed November 24, 2021. https://www.salon.com/2021/03/27/conservative-groups-are-writing-gop-voter-suppression-bills—and-spending-millions-to-pass-them/ ^
  20. “Our Staff.” American Principles Project. Accessed November 24, 2021. https://americanprinciplesproject.org/about/staff/ ^
  21. “Our Founder and Board.” American Principles Project. Accessed November 24, 2021. https://americanprinciplesproject.org/about/board/ ^
  22. “Our Staff.” American Principles Project. Accessed November 24, 2021. https://americanprinciplesproject.org/about/staff/ ^
  23. “Our Founder and Board.” American Principles Project. Accessed November 24, 2021. https://americanprinciplesproject.org/about/board/ ^
  24. “Our Staff.” American Principles Project. Accessed November 24, 2021. https://americanprinciplesproject.org/about/staff/ ^
  25. “Our Founder and Board.” American Principles Project. Accessed November 24, 2021. https://americanprinciplesproject.org/about/board/ ^
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: December - November
  • Tax Exemption Received: November 1, 2014

  • Available Filings

    Period Form Type Total revenue Total functional expenses Total assets (EOY) Total liabilities (EOY) Unrelated business income? Total contributions Program service revenue Investment income Comp. of current officers, directors, etc. Form 990
    2019 Dec Form 990 $783,435 $891,017 $376,111 $118,572 N $783,435 $0 $0 $147,675
    2018 Dec Form 990 $1,190,537 $1,128,966 $459,115 $93,994 Y $1,190,537 $0 $0 $106,518 PDF
    2017 Dec Form 990 $692,247 $776,036 $380,238 $76,688 N $692,142 $0 $0 $71,642
    2016 Dec Form 990 $980,730 $1,211,673 $451,860 $64,521 Y $965,326 $0 $14,131 $296,679
    2015 Dec Form 990 $2,372,193 $2,328,939 $679,746 $61,464 N $2,370,596 $0 $0 $320,906 PDF
    2014 Dec Form 990 $2,072,613 $1,964,657 $648,590 $79,412 N $2,016,807 $0 $6 $256,581 PDF
    2013 Dec Form 990 $2,923,182 $2,540,280 $548,419 $95,025 N $2,910,352 $0 $4 $105,001 PDF
    2012 May Form 990 $523,621 $423,126 $140,224 $0 N $523,621 $0 $0 $77,000 PDF
    2011 Dec Form 990 $1,459,590 $1,482,864 $39,729 $0 N $1,451,634 $0 $0 $317,500 PDF
    2010 Dec Form 990 $1,069,235 $1,007,703 $63,003 $0 N $1,069,235 $0 $0 $181,250 PDF
    2009 Dec Form 990 $170,000 $168,529 $1,471 $0 N $170,000 $0 $0 $71,000 PDF

    Additional Filings (PDFs)

    American Principles Project

    2800 Shirlington Rd
    Suite 1201
    Arlington, VA 22206