Power struggle erupts at Eagle Forum

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CLAYTON, MO (KPLR) - A dispute over the future direction of Phyllis Schlafly's conservative Eagle Forum group surfaced this week.

The Clayton based Eagle Forum has been Schlafly's microphone for conservative Republican causes for decades.

Six board members for the political arm of Eagle Forum, including Schlafly's daughter Anne Schlafly Cori, moved to oust the new president Ed Martin.

Cori said it was a question of Martin's leadership.

Schlafly hired Martin in January 2015 to be president of both the Eagle Forum Education and Legal Fund and the political arm which operates as a 501c4 group.

Schlafly opposed the vote and said it violates the organization's bylaws. She continues to back Martin. In a statement Schlafly said "they are attempting to seize access to our bank accounts, to terminate employees and to install members of their own gang of six.”

Schlafly, who endorsed Donald Trump for president a month ago, has disagreed with the board members who back Senator Ted Cruz for the GOP nomination. However a Cruz supporter and Missouri GOP committeeman Chris Howard said Tuesday, "They disagreed over presidential candidates before between their state chapters and their board, so I would be hard-pressed to believe that all this is just about that. "Howard compared it to the internal disagreement going on within the Republican Party this year.

According to federal IRS laws Eagle Forum cannot endorse candidates; however, individuals including the chairwoman Phyllis Schlafly can make endorsements personally.

The other branch of Eagle Forum, the Education and Legal Defense Fund, is managed by a different board. That board has not taken any action to remove Martin as its president.