Skip to comments.Tea Party group must disclose donors, Federal Election Commission rules
Posted on 11/21/2013 6:34:29 PM PST by Tailgunner Joe
Washington, D.C. - The Federal Election Commission on Thursday denied the request of a prominent Tea Party organization that argued it should not have to disclose its political donors because they might face harassment from the government or the public.
The Tea Party Leadership Fund, which recently announced that it is seeking challengers for the 87 Republicans who voted to end last month's government shutdown, told the FEC that an exemption from public disclosure would be justified by part of the Supreme Court's decision in Buckley v. Valeo.
The group's lawyers noted the decision lets organizations like the Socialist Workers Party have an exemption from disclosing their contributors if they can establish a "reasonable probability that the compelled disclosure would result in threats, harassment, or reprisals from either Government officials or private parties."
"As grassroots outsiders, TEA Party supporters are accustomed to defending their values from both government officials and private opprobrium," the group said in a September filing with the FEC. "But the TEA Party is now encountering unprecedented harassment from both government officials and private actors."
The Tea Party group filed more than 1,000 pages of documents it said showed harassment, including reports on the IRS questioning whether Tea Party and other political groups should have tax exempt status, and criticism of its stances by the media and politicians including President Barack Obama, Ohio Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown and Niles Democratic Rep. Tim Ryan.
In making its case, it cited an op-ed by Brown that described Tea Party populism as "driven by anger at our government and at our country," and an instance where Ryan referred to its activists as "tea bagger protestors."
Organizations like Democracy 21 and the Campaign Legal Center opposed the group's request, arguing that the disclosure exemption is only available when the threat to the exercise of First Amendment rights is so serious and the state interest furthered by disclosure so insubstantial that [the disclosure requirement] cannot be constitutionally applied.
Paul S. Ryan of the Campaign Legal Center said that if the FEC had granted the Tea Party an exemption originally given to the imperiled membership of the NAACP in the Jim Crow South, "it is difficult to imagine what political groups would not qualify for the exemption including the Republican and Democratic National Committees.
A few private citizens wrote in as well, including Daniel Torre, a mortgage consultant in Beavercreek, Ohio, who contended the Tea Party organization was trying to "see how far they can push the rules," and said if they could "hide their donors then anyone in the world can and will influence and buy our elections."
While two Federal Election Commission members sided with the Tea Party Leadership Fund and said its evidence of harassment was stronger than documentation provided by he Socialist Workers Party, other commission members said the situation was not the same. The FEC denied the group's request in a 3 to 2 vote.
FEC Chair Ellen L. Weintraub pointed out the Socialist organization never supported a winning candidate and had only 11 donors that gave more than the $200 disclosure requirement, so just a few names were hidden from the public.
She said the Tea Party's greater political success and its larger donor base were "an important political distinction."
"Certainly, no-one at this table wishes to condone any form of harassment for anyone who is trying to express their political views in any way," said Weintraub, noting that when allegations were raised about the IRS targeting political groups for scrutiny "there was bipartisan outrage."
The Tea Party Leadership Fund's disclosure forms show it raised more than $1 million in each of the last two election cycles, collecting several thousand dollars from Ohio residents.
The 87 members of Congress it has dubbed "Republican traitors" and promised to challenge in next year's GOP primaries include House Speaker John Boehner of West Chester, Rep. Pat Tiberi of the Columbus area and Rep. Dave Joyce of Russell Township.
Well, gee, that’s a surprise....
Sucks when the criminals are in charge ay?
the donors will be harassed, and audited, and audited, and audited for now and evermore. On November 4, 2008, the United States of America became a banana republic.
While two Federal Election Commission members sided with the Tea Party Leadership Fund and said its evidence of harassment was stronger than documentation provided by the Socialist Workers Party, other commission members said the situation was not the same. The FEC denied the groups request in a 3 to 2 vote.True kakistocratic action there. Defend the SWP but attack constitutionalists.
The hypocrisy of the arguments for disclosure is astounding.
When subversives write the rules and rule the committees, the communists have won.
I believe that all donors should be disclosed, without exception. Political contributions should be unlimited, but should be posted on a publicly available website within 24 hours. Candidates, PAC, advocacy groups, non profits should all be required to report contributions. No exceptions.
Right now, only contributions to conservatives are required to be reported.
Our Republican leaders will be having champagne tonight.
Nut-job Conspiracy Theory Ping!
To get onto The Nut-job Conspiracy Theory Ping List you must threaten to report me to the Mods if I don't add you to the list...
there are few leaders in the Republican party...the one’s you’re referring to are not leaders rather spineless weasels...
Let’s see: Donald Duck, Mickey Mouse, WileE. Coyote, Daffy Duck, Woody Woodpecker, .............
Same names that appear on LIB petition lists.
Another communists takeover of our freedom. America is finished.
Tell the FEC where they can stick it.
Planned Parenthood does not have to disclose donors...
All us Taxed Enough Already types, who value sane policy over partisan politics, are to be silenced, if we do not pay to play on, and/or join either the D or R union type teams!
Is this an official card check attempt against USA citizens by our RICO crime filled government?Or is the government class declaring war against we citizens, as potential members of a criminal conspiracy to stop their unconstitutional operations, and thus be deemed subject to RICO crimes?
Why yes, I believe it is both!
This is part of the Democrat reelection plan for 2014 & 2016. Democrat operatives here in WI are engaged in a fishing expedition to unmask conservative donors by saying they are looking for election law violations in the recent recall Gov.Walker effort [the left’s efforts failed]. Once outed, expect leftist boycotts against business donors & private home demonstrations v. individual donors.
It will be impossible to prove harassment of individuals. Their tentacles are everywhere, squeezing, squeezing.
I guess what they should do is just make mass appeals for the candidates they support....no money collected...no names to list....of course they need seed money to do it..
Just say NO!