This morning The Washington Post picks up on a reference Mark Sanford made in his confessional press conference to meetings he had at "C Street" to discuss his infidelity. He was referring to 133 C Street, S.E., in the District, where a secretive group of power elites known as "The Fellowship" or "The Family" meets. According to the Post:

The house pulsed with backstage intrigue, in the days and months before the Sanford and Ensign scandals -- dubbed "two lightning strikes" by a high-ranking congressional source. First, at least one resident learned of both the Sanford and Ensign affairs and tried to talk each politician into ending his philandering, a source close to the congressman said. Then the house drama escalated. It was then that Doug Hampton, the husband of Ensign's mistress, endured an emotional meeting with Sen. Tom Coburn, who lives there, according to the source. The topic was forgiveness.

(The Post also reports that the townhouse is actually owned by Youth With A Mission, the worldwide youth evangelism complex that most recently was in the news because Matthew Murray, who shot up New Life Church in Colorado Springs in 2007, blamed his troubles in part on the YWAM program, which has been accused of brainwashing and coercive techniques.)

The Fellowship, or Family, is the subject of Jeff Sharlet's seminal book, The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power, which lifts the lid on the group's secrecy. Last year, I interviewed Sharlet for TAP:

JS: . . . . They talk about how we can do conflict resolution, a couple of brothers in Christ can just get together and share their love for one another. If they're "top men." If they're chosen by God for this, if they're elites, if they're chosen by God according to Romans 13 . . . . Are you willing to submit to this Christ, are you willing to say that you're obeying Christ before you obey the will of the people, what The Family calls "the din of the vox popula." They don't like that.

SP: So you're listening to this imaginary Christ instead of representing your constituents, because the will of the people is just the riff-raff?

JS: It's actually a little worse than that. What you're doing is getting a collection of elites who are submitting to the authority of an American-led fundamentalist network, not following their conscience but following Christ as he reveals himself secretly to the elite.

Read the whole thing.

--Sarah Posner

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