American Principles Project

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American Principles Project (APP) is a rightwing organization that describes itself as "the premier national organization engaging directly in campaigns and advocacy on behalf of the family." The group was founded in 2009 by political strategist Frank Cannon and Princeton Professor Robert George.

Created as a right-of-center organization, APP opposes the accurate teaching of racism and the promotion of so-called "gender ideology" in schools. They also strongly oppose "gender ideology" in high school sports.

APP has also notably been warning Republicans in Washington "about the influence of Big Tech and its allies on conservatives." "'Over the last two years, 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,' wrote Jon Schweppe, director of policy and government affairs at the American Principles Project" [1]

News and Controversies

Google Chrome Extension Used to Track Political Operatives

In Duly of 2021, the American Principles Project released a Google Chrome extension called 'Big Tech Funding.' The extension "allows Twitter users to see disclosures on the profiles and tweets of users who 'are affiliated with think tanks, academic centers, and advocacy groups that are funded by Big Tech,' but many users are unlikely to realize that it’s being funded by far-right political operatives."

The extension makes use of publically available data sources to track individuals and compile organization members. This effort shows a broader issue of tech being used to broaden the political divide and push individual agendas. [2]

Weaponized Homophobic Videos and Texts for Campaigning

During Wisconsin's 2023 State Supreme Court Race, American Principles Project Pac spread "lies and misleading claims about transgender kids and distort Protasiewicz’s support of LBGTQ equality to somehow suggest she’s a threat to children." These attacks, in an effort to support Dan Kelly's unsuccessful race, were sent out all across Wisconsin. One Milwaukee resident is quoted as saying, “I was pretty horrified...Of all the things to send a get out the vote text for in a Supreme Court justice race, I was pretty shocked that they chose to attack trans children.”

The videos spread conspiracy theories and misleading information, claiming that "Radical activists want kids to start transgender therapies without parental consent. The extreme groups endorsing Janet Protasiewicz aim to take away parental rights and impose trans ideology on our kids.” [3]

$7.1 Million from Megadonor Uihleins

During the 2022 election cycle, Richard and Elizabeth Uihlein donated $7.1 million to right-wing groups from his Restoration PAC in order to help conservatives get elected. APP received $950,000 from the PAC. This comes in the wake of the February Council of National Policy meeting in which one of APP's founding members, Frank Cannon stated, "The worst possible outcome for the pro-life movement—and I believe for the party itself— would be [for] Republicans to mishandle the abortion issue,...If…we are failed by the Republican Party, and by ourselves not working hard enough to win in [the November] elections, we’ll squander the miracle that got us here.” [4]

Launch of 'Big Family' Project

In June 2021, American Principles Project announced its "Big Family" project. Like Big Tech, Big Pharma or Big Oil, the "Big Family" project sets out to create a powerful lobbying arm to support the family unit. The founder of the project, Terry Schilling, is quoted as saying "while every other pro-family group leans conservative and focuses on public policy and legislative efforts, they see the APP project as a vehicle for all Americans, including independents and moderates, to be a force for change locally, in statewide arenas and nationally."

The "Big Family" project will target a few issues, including "school choice, preventing kids’ access to pornography and properly navigating critical race theory and gender ideology in schools. Down the line, they envision state and local chapters working on electing and supporting candidates for school boards, local and national representatives, and rallying troops against any proposed legislative efforts they deem to be against their pro-family agenda." [5]

APP Supports Haulting Online Monopolies

In November 2021, Senators Klobuchar and Cotton introduced a bill that would halt monopolies forming among online platforms. The Senators claimed the "legislation (is) designed to make it more difficult for dominant online platforms to make acquisitions that hurt competition and eliminate consumer choice." Several organizations supported the bill, including the American Principles Project. [6]

Re-instated YouTube Account After Posting Re-Uploading Banned Content

In October 2021, YouTube terminated American Principles Project's YouTube account, contending "that the pro-family organization had violated its terms of service by re-uploading content from a 'previously terminated channel'.” After YouTube Received backlash from conservatives and lawmakers, the company decided to reinstate the account.[7]

Supporting Voter Supression

In March 2021, it was reported that Republican state lawmakers had authored more than 250 bills restricting access to voting in the wake of President Donald Trump's claim about election fraud. There were a few key groups spending millions to boost these efforts, one of those being the American Principles Project. Frank Cannon, one of the founding members of APP, is quoted as saying "conservative activists quickly realized that the only way they could keep donations rolling in is by making the effort to restrict voting access the 'center of gravity in the party.'" [8]

Spreading Disinformation About President Biden

In the run-up to the 2020 election, APP used RumbleUp, a texting platform that allows a decentralized group of volunteers to spam existing and prospective voters with messages. In one of their rounds of texts, the group several misinterpreted one of Biden's recent comments "The text message misconstrued comments from Biden at a recent town hall, where he condemned discrimination against transgender children, to suggest he had “endorsed giving 8 and 10 year olds sex change treatments.” It included a misleading video leveling the same claim, debunked last week by the Associated Press."

Terry Schilling, the executive director of APP, stated in defense of the texts, "Biden’s recent vow that there should be 'zero discrimination' against transgender children 'implied . . . that children should have a right to live as the gender they identify with, even if opposite from their biological sex, and have access to any medical treatments that will facilitate this.'" [9]

Controversy Over Trans Athletes

In the 2019 Kentucky Governors race, APP released two separate ads that drew attention to trans athletes in high school sports "In one ad, called ,Wrestler,' two high-school-age girls are shown facing off. 'All any athlete wants is a fair shot in competition,' a female announcer says. The camera focuses in on the referee as he is about to declare a winner. The announcer asks: “But what if the rules change?” A teenage boy appears in the frame, and the referee announces that he is in fact the winner. The ad closes by urging a vote against the Democratic nominee for governor, Andy Beshear, declaring, 'Beshear calls this equality. But is it fair?'”

The ads make it appear as if "nondiscrimination laws that include gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people, which Beshear supports, would open the door for boys to join girls’ sports leagues just because they want a competitive advantage, not because they are transitioning genders."

In Response to the ads JoDee Winterhof, senior vice president for policy and political affairs at the Human Rights Campaign, said "the new ads revealed a sense of desperation among social conservative activists." “This is where they had to land because none of the rest of it worked,” Winterhof said. “At what point do they get the memo? The ground has shifted underneath them across the country.” [10]

Ties to the American Legislative Exchange Council

Susan B Anthony Pro-Life's political strategist, Frank Cannon, who is APP's founding president, routinely works with ALEC to "provided ALEC’s legislative leaders with tips on how to talk about what they expected would be an unpopular Dobbs decision to overturn Roe" and numerous other issues. [11]

About ALEC
ALEC is a corporate bill mill. It is not just a lobby or a front group; it is much more powerful than that. Through ALEC, corporations hand state legislators their wishlists to benefit their bottom line. Corporations fund almost all of ALEC's operations. They pay for a seat on ALEC task forces where corporate lobbyists and special interest reps vote with elected officials to approve “model” bills. Learn more at the Center for Media and Democracy's, and check out breaking news on our site.

Ties to the Council for National Policy

During a 2022 panel, which included Frank Cannon, founding member of APP, a group of right-wing thinkers attempted to spell out what happens after Roe to a room full of "Christian right activists and donors." The panelists reported that there is a lot of great news on the anti-abortion front, but the pianists describe the map ahead of them “They are talking about unlimited abortion up until the end…. When it’s framed like that, we win.” [12]

Council for National Policy

The Council for National Policy (CNP) is a secretive, Christian Right organization of funders and activists founded in 1981 by activist Morton Blackwell, commentator Paul Weyrich, direct-mail pioneer Richard Viguerie, right-wing activist Phyllis Schlafly and Left Behind author Tim LaHaye. Anne Nelson's book about CNP, Shadow Network: Media, Money, and the Secret Hub of the Radical Right, describes how the organization connects "the manpower and media of the Christian right with the finances of Western plutocrats and the strategy of right-wing Republican political operatives.”

CNP membership as of September 2020 is available here.

Core Financials


  • Total Revenue: $5,120,026
  • Total Expenses: $4,572,477
  • Net Assets: $1,256,827


  • Total Revenue: $2,671,248
  • Total Expenses: $2,485,920
  • Net Assets: $709,278


  • Total Revenue: $6,052,162
  • Total Expenses: $5,794,471
  • Net Assets: $515,230


  • Total Revenue: $783,435
  • Total Expenses: $891,017
  • Net Assets: $257,539


  • Total Revenue: $1,190,537
  • Total Expenses: $1,128,966
  • Net Assets: $365,121


  • Total Revenue: $692,247
  • Total Expenses: $776,036
  • Net Assets: $303,550



Board of Directors[20]

  • Terry Schilling, President, @Schilling1776
  • Sean Fieler, Chairman
  • Frank Cannon, Founding President, Twitter: @frankcannonAPP
  • Ellen Barrosse, Board

Former Board Members

Contact Information

American Principles Project
2800 Shirlington Road, Suite 901
Arlington, VA 22206
Phone: 202-503-2010

Articles and Resources

IRS 990's







Related SourceWatch Articles


  1. Katherine Fung,Conservative Group Warns Republicans About Big Tech's Influence on the Right, Newsweek, June 7 2021
  2. A Right-Wing Dark Money Group Created This 'Big Tech Funding' Chrome Extension, Edward Ongweso Jr, Vice, July 20th, 2021
  3. Group Backing Dan Kelly Sends Disturbing Homophobic Texts, Videos to Voters, Keya Vakil, Up North News, March 24th, 2023
  4. David Armiak,ULINE CEO Pours Another $7.1 Million Into His Restoration PAC to Boost Anti-Abortion and Right-Wing Candidates and Causes, Exposed by CMD, October 18 2022
  5. Bethany Mandel,Perspective: Move over Big Tech, Big Oil — it’s time for Big Family, Desert News, June 15 2021
  6. Dave Kovaleski,Sens. Klobuchar, Cotton introduce bill to halt monopolies among online platforms, Financial Regulation News, November 10 2021
  7. Mary Margaret Olohan,American Principles Project Back on YouTube After Backlash Ends Censorship, The Daily Signal, October 13 2021
  8. Igor Derysh,Conservative groups are writing GOP voter suppression bills — and spending millions to pass them, Salon, March 27 2021
  9. Isaac Stanley-Becker and Tony Romm,In campaign’s closing days, disinformation arrives via text message and email, The Washington Post, October 28 2020
  10. Jeremy W. Peters,A conservative push to make trans kids and school sports the next battleground in the culture war, The Seattle Times, November 4 2019
  11. David Armiak,ALEC Opposes Roe, Teams up with Anti-Abortion Extremists, Exposed by CMD, July 1 2022
  12. Dont Say Roe, David Armiak, Exposed by CMD, March 24, 2022
  13. Nonprofit explorer, 2022 IRS Form 990, organizational tax filing, accessed February 15, 2024
  14. Nonprofit explorer, 2021 IRS Form 990, organizational tax filing, accessed June 8, 2023
  15. Nonprofit explorer, 2020 IRS Form 990, organizational tax filing, accessed June 8, 2023
  16. Nonprofit explorer, 2019 IRS Form 990, organizational tax filing, accessed June 8, 2023
  17. Nonprofit explorer, 2018 IRS Form 990, organizational tax filing, accessed June 8, 2023
  18. Nonprofit explorer, 2017 IRS Form 990, organizational tax filing, accessed June 8, 2023
  19. APP Our Staff,[1], American Principles Project, Accessed June 8 2023
  20. APP Our Founder and Board,[2], American Principles Project, Accessed June 8 2023