President Donald Trump has appointed an author of self-styled “Illuminati” self-help and financial advice books to a position on a federal education board.
The appointment of George Mentz ― who also writes under the pen name “Magus Incognito” ― to the Commission on Presidential Scholars was announced last Wednesday in a White House press release.
The group is tasked with selecting “presidential scholars” from across the country, an honorific reserved for 161 high school seniors who “demonstrate exceptional accomplishments in academics, the arts, career and technical education and an outstanding commitment to public service.”
Federal Election Commission filings show Mentz has given substantial sums to Republican causes and candidates, including more than $10,000 to Trump’s campaign and an associated political action committee.
Mentz’s author page on Amazon suggests that he is a prolific writer, with more than 60 titles to his name. That includes works with titles like “The Law of Attraction & Prosperity Bible – The Illuminati Wealth Manifesto & Codex” and “The Illuminati Handbook – The Path of Illumination and Ascension.”
In a 2013 book by “Magus Incognito” called “Rosicrucian and Masonic Spirituality & Secrets – The Handbook,” Mentz tells readers the book’s teachings “can propel the initiate into the 4th dimension of existence on this Earth.”
Mentz told The Denver Post that he uses “Illuminati” in book titles primarily for marketing purposes.
“Just because I use the word Illuminati, don’t let that get you too excited,” Mentz told the paper in an interview published Wednesday. “If you look the word up, it means ‘illumination.’ How to be more aware, conscious, a better person.”
In addition to his work as an author, Mentz pens finance columns for the conservative website Newsmax, and teaches online financial planning courses for Texas A&M University.
Mentz attended law and business school in Louisiana and now lives in Colorado Springs, where he owns the Global Academy of Finance and Management. For $378, the company awards certifications to individuals who can then list official-sounding titles and acronyms after their names. (The certifications are “valid” for two years and then “members” must renew them annually.) At least 118 such titles are listed on the GAFM website, including “Certified Chartered FinTech Professional (ChFP),” “Master Business Analyst (MBA)” and “Registered Islamic Financial Specialist (RIFS).”
It’s unclear what qualifications applicants must demonstrate in order to obtain the certifications. Mentz told The Denver Post they’re based on standards like college coursework.