Another Tea Party Scam


The Washington Post reports some very unsurprising news, that most of the Tea Party-affiliated Political Action Committees are raising lots of money to support candidates but giving a very small percentage of it to those candidates and their election committees.

The Tea Party Patriots Citizens Fund, which blew through nearly $2 million on expenses such as fundraising, polling and consultants in the first three months of this year, is not alone in its meager spending on candidates.

A Washington Post analysis found that some of the top national tea party groups engaged in this year’s midterm elections have put just a tiny fraction of their money directly into boosting the candidates they’ve endorsed.

The practice is not unusual in the freewheeling world of big-money political groups, but it runs counter to the ethos of the tea party movement, which sprouted five years ago amid anger on the right over wasteful government spending. And it contrasts with the urgent appeals tea party groups have made to their base of small donors, many of whom repeatedly contribute after being promised that their money will help elect conservative politicians.

Out of the $37.5 million spent so far by the PACs of six major tea party organizations, less than $7 million has been devoted to directly helping candidates, according to the analysis, which was based on campaign finance data provided by the Sunlight Foundation.

The dearth of election spending has left many favored tea party candidates exposed before a series of pivotal GOP primaries next month in North Carolina, Nebraska, Idaho and Kentucky.

Roughly half of the money — nearly $18 million — has gone to pay for fundraising and direct mail, largely provided by Washington-area firms. Meanwhile, tea party leaders and their family members have been paid hundreds of thousands of dollars in consulting fees, while their groups have doled out large sums for airfare, a retirement plan and even interior decorating.

The lavish spending underscores how the protest movement has gone professional, with national groups transforming themselves into multimillion-dollar organizations run by activists collecting six-figure salaries.

Three well-known groups — the Tea Party Patriots, the Tea Party Express and the Madison Project — have spent 5 percent or less of their money directly on election-related activity during this election cycle.

In the end, it’s just another grift.

Comments

  1. says

    How do I start my own Tea Party fundraising organization? I would love to funnel money away from crazies and into my pockets.

  2. says

    First, get a big mailing list – either from hackers breaking into conservative websites, or purchased through a marketing agency. Then spam out a message to everyone, Delgaudio-style, with some plausible-sounding woo. Make a few predictions about things that are almost sure to happen or that are likely to happen. Or create a conspiracy. Set up a website that harvests the addresses of people connecting to it. Spam links on a couple popular blogs. Do this for a while, then start asking for money. Then claim you’re being oppressed and need more money.

  3. busterggi says

    “but it runs counter to the ethos of the tea party movement”

    No, it runs counter to its public statements but its sop for those involved whose ethos is ‘mine, mine, mine’.

  4. eric says

    I’m kinda glad they are far less efficient at campaign spending than other groups. Yes, its sad that the regular citizens they are extracting money from are basically getting conned. And I’m all for PAC regulations that would require greater transparency in how the funding is used. But still, I can’t be too upset at the thought of those dollars not going to help elect Tea Party candidates to office.

  5. raven says

    that most of the Tea Party-affiliated Political Action Committees are raising lots of money to support candidates but giving a very small percentage of it to those candidates and their election committees.

    Works for me. Let them spend their campaign contributions on luxury goods, fast cars, yachts and so on.

    It’s the same with fundie xians and their donations to their cult leaders. Many of whom are ultra-wealthy.

    but it runs counter to the ethos of the tea party movement

    Not really.

    This is the party of; “I’ve got mine, fuck you”, and “Greed is god”.

  6. Doug Little says

    Sounds to me it’s in perfect alignment with the Tea Party, the only thing that would make it a more perfect fit is if most of the money was being funneled to the KKK and NRA.

  7. says

    The practice is not unusual in the freewheeling world of big-money political groups, but it runs counter to the ethos of the tea party movement, which sprouted five years ago amid anger on the right over wasteful government spending.

    People are still fooled by this? No, the Tea Party did not start because of anger on the right at wasteful government spending, which they had no problem with during the Bush administration. It started as an angry reaction over having lost an election to a black man and his coterie of fellow liberals, which they perceived as a great cosmic injustice because the country rightfully belongs to them. And since they’re so tribalistic and gullible, they were quickly co-opted by Fox News and Dick Armey into being foot soldiers in the battle against things like finance reform and raising taxes on the rich, which is to say into serving the interests of the wealthy elite. It’s hardly a surprise that they’re getting fleeced by con-artists.

  8. says

    Well, to be fair, if they had spent more money on campaigning for tea party candidates, more voters would have learned what the tea party candidates are really like. That’s not in the best interest of the tea party’s goals.

  9. beezlebubby says

    To borrow a bit from Will Rogers:

    For all the money they’re paying for the tea party, it’s a probably a good thing that they’re not getting their money’s worth.

  10. Artor says

    Well, when your movement is built from people who are averse to reality or education, and eagerly vote against their own interests, the vultures will flock to their feast. Couldn’t happen to a more deserving bunch.

  11. sigurd jorsalfar says

    Roughly half of the money — nearly $18 million — has gone to pay for fundraising and direct mail, largely provided by Washington-area firms

    Karl Rove, you diabolical GENIUS! (said in the style of Adam West playing Batman) – grift the rubes who make up the party base AND keep the Tea Party candidates from winning primaries.

  12. Nihilismus says

    We should start a Tea Party scam that takes their donations and gives the money to needy families. If we get caught, we just say, “See, private charity works better than big government welfare — keep donating or the liberals will convince the gullible public that big government welfare is needed.”

  13. says

    Karl Rove, you diabolical GENIUS! (said in the style of Adam West playing Batman) – grift the rubes who make up the party base AND keep the Tea Party candidates from winning primaries.

    This confidence scam was actually pioneered by Richard Viguerie, who effectively created the whole direct-mail form of fundraising within the conservative movement. And most of that money wound up in his own pocket. A typical example:

    “In 1977, Viguerie worked on a project to raise money for Sun Myung Moon’s Children’s Relief Fund, which reportedly only received 6.3% of the $1,508,256 raised. $920,000 went to Viguerie according to New York State charity auditors”

    Rove is kind of a piker compare to this. He’s got his own scams, but unlike Viguerie and the Teabagger thieves, he can legitimately claim to be someone who worked in government and had to actually do shit.

    To the best of my knowledge, no one in the conservative movement has ever held Viguerie accountable or denounced him as a profiteer who accomplished little but to transfer wealth from the conservative public into his own pocket. So why is anyone surprised that it’s still happening?

  14. dogmeat says

    It started as an angry reaction over having lost an election to a black man and his coterie of fellow liberals slightly less conservatives, which they perceived as a great cosmic injustice because the country rightfully belongs to them.

    Fixed that for you. ;o)

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