Spotlight on CPAC’s Lisa De Pasquale
Lisa De Pasquale is described as a committed movement conservative by the National Journal, called “a total delight” by HUMAN EVENTS Legal Affairs Correspondent Ann Coulter and considered a blessing by American Conservative Union Vice President J. William Lauderback.
As an official at the American Conservative Union, America’s largest and oldest conservative activist and lobbying group, De Pasquale is director of the nation’s premier conservative meeting, the Conservative Political Action Conference. CPAC draws thousands of conservative students, activists and policy makers to Washington, D.C., for a three-day weekend each year and has been a conservative hot spot since 1973.
“CPAC is the largest annual gathering of conservatives in the nation and an integral component of the broader conservative movement,” Lauderback said.
As overseer and coordinator of the conference from beginning to end, De Pasquale works with some of the biggest and best-known political names in the nation. In years past, CPAC has welcomed a wide array of political figures, including Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Michelle Malkin, Matt Drudge, Ann Coulter, Newt Gingrich and David Horowitz.
“The great thing about the conservative movement is that new stars emerge every year, so it keeps CPAC fresh and exciting,” De Pasquale says. “We always have the up-and-coming leaders, in addition to popular repeat speakers.”
The three days of CPAC are peppered with panels, where individuals of opposing views engage in mini-debates; evening banquets, where attendees rub elbows with the guests of honor; and organization-sponsored events, including several aimed at the college crowd.
In addition to arranging the panelists and speakers and securing authors for the ever-popular book signings, De Pasquale must seek funding from both corporate and non-profit cosponsors.
CPAC 2006 featured sponsors Human Events and Young America’s Foundation and more than 100 cosponsors, ranging from the Media Research Center and the National Rifle Association to the Recording Industry Association of America and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Cosponsors work with the American Conservative Union to develop the content of the conference, and most take advantage of the opportunity to have a booth in the exhibition hall.
The next CPAC is March 1-3, 2007, in Washington, D.C. For information and to register, visit www.cpac.org.
“Very few individuals possess the combination of political connections, organizational savvy, event management expertise and rock-solid conservative credentials to handle the CPAC job,” Lauderback says. “Lisa is one of those very, very special people, and the movement is blessed to have her on our side.”
De Pasquale first began writing movie reviews for the Tallahassee Democrat at age 14. According to a recent profile in the National Journal, her interest in conservatism was sparked in an unorthodox manner—an invitation from a crush to listen to Rush Limbaugh during their lunch period. De Pasquale’s full entry into the conservative movement came years later, when Limbaugh read on the air an article she wrote for the Washington Times. She graduated from Flagler College in St. Augustine, Fla., in the spring of 1999 and has been in the Washington, D.C., area ever since. She worked at the Clare Boothe Luce Policy Institute until 2005.
At her first CPAC, in 2000, De Pasquale met Coulter at Young America’s Foundation’s Thomas Phillips Student Journalism Luncheon. Coulter would eventually join the Luce Institute’s roster of campus speakers. As the institute’s program director, De Pasquale coordinated speaking engagements for Coulter and other conservative women throughout the nation. Like Coulter, she also wrote for Human Events and did dozens of talk-radio interviews.
The two are often linked together, and De Pasquale’s weekly online Human Events column has featured both exclusive Coulter interviews and detailed book reviews, leading some conspiracy theorists to accuse the women of being one and the same.
At one point, De Pasquale received an e-mail from an incensed reader who wrote “[Y]ou revealed yourself to be just as vicious as Ann Coulter—and that’s saying a lot.” In her next column, De Pasquale responded to the e-mail, writing, “I plan on adding this to my résumé.”
De Pasquale describes Coulter as a true role model and mentor, and it is apparent that Coulter supports both De Pasquale and CPAC: Coulter recently accepted De Pasquale’s invitation to address the 2007 conference.
The relationship is one of mutual respect. Coulter did not hesitate to offer praise for De Pasquale’s work.
“Lisa De Pasquale is one of the best conservative writers out there—and, as you probably know, conservative writers are loathe to praise other conservative writers,” Coulter said. “If I ever hang up my stirrups, it will be easier knowing that Lisa can pick up the slack.”