Skip to comments.How the Tea Party became as corrupt as the Beltway it loathes
Posted on 08/07/2014 2:26:34 PM PDT by afraidfortherepublic
This week, ProPublica released a report on the financial (and moral) corruption of a Tea Party group operating under the name Move America Forward, which was founded by one Sal Russo. Russo also helped start the Our Country Deserves Better PAC, aka the Tea Party Express. Move America Forward has run fake drives to give care packages to troops, stolen images of other charitable campaigns and passed them off as its own, and trumpeted a nonexistent partnership with Walter Reed Hospital all while funneling very real millions to itself. The group is an industry leader at taking your Tea Party sentiments (if you have them) and turning them into profits.
Unfortunately, the continuing success of Sal Russo and the Tea Party Express is emblematic of a larger failure of the American right and perhaps the larger project of American self-governance.
Earlier this year, The Daily Caller's Alexis Levinson reported that other Tea Party groups that had raised millions spent up to 80 percent of their money on operating expenditures, salaries, consultants, and mailing list companies, which were often owned by the people who ran the groups themselves. The Tea Party is essentially a landlord class; its fiefdom is the truly felt convictions of others.
There is nothing new about this. The Tea Party gained traction in an environment defined by massive resentment and fear directed at the Obama presidency, disgust at the bailouts of the Bush and Obama eras, and the wreckage of a Republican electoral defeat, all of which was especially conducive to the growth of parasite groups like the Tea Party Express.
In February of 2010, I reported a story from a "Tea Party Convention" in Nashville, hosted by the for-profit group Tea Party Nation. Leader Juddson Phillips left his job as a lawyer to draw a salary. Tickets for this grassroots uprising cost more than $500. The great motive behind it was transforming the organizers into richer men and political kingmakers in their state.
This gross profiteering is not unique to right-wingers. Political consultants do hilariously weird things. John Weaver, a consultant who advises prominent Republican candidates to enact his own distaste for conservatives, pulled an all-timer when he convinced his candidate's campaign to pay him, partly, through a corporation that shared the exact same name as that of another consultant's business. That helped to hide how well he was doing until it didn't.
People who give themselves to full-time political activism deserve some recompense for their work and expertise. And of course, even the most populist of political movements will attract, and even require, professional leadership from without. After all, even punk rock bands require "the suits" to handle business and arrange for the to-be-destroyed hotel room. Even St. Paul demanded payment for his services.
But there was something especially galling about the level of self-dealing enrichment and deception at the head of the Tea Party movement, particularly because the movement started as a disgusted response to the self-dealing enrichment and deception in Washington.
Profiteering has been an acute problem almost right from the beginning for the Tea Party. It is like the reverse mortgage industry of politics: making money by giving an awful deal to an older, whiter customer base, then leaving town just as the fools realize it leaves them with nothing.
It's easy to write them off as just another bunch of opportunists. But the endemic corruption of this movement should trouble the American right, if not the American conscience. The conservative diagnosis of Washington's brokenness is that Americans have outsourced the task of self-government to a managerial class in Washington, a corruption that has transformed our nation's capital into "the Beltway," a shorthand for D.C.'s toxic culture of cronyism.
The populist right's instinctive response the Tea Party immediately became just another added layer of cronyism. A grassroots corruption. Really, a weed. If the American people have outsourced their self-government to Washington, the conservative movement made another dirty deal, allowing itself to be entertained in outrage carnivals run by for-profit activists. Excepting the exceptions, the populist right's response to dishonesty and graft was to generate another set of swindlers who wear flag-lapel pins, lie to their faces, and help themselves to the cash.
Yes, we built that. And H.L. Mencken laughs. Self-government is just another product, and no one can be bothered to read the fine print.
Some folks just don’t get it, do they?
ProPublica is full ogf leftoidst B/S!
I’m always interested in what denizens of Manhattan’s upper east side think about the Tea Party.
There is no Tea Party, just groups of concerned citizens who agree on certain basic principles. Each group does its own thing. There is no organizational hierarchy.
If true, did they hire trolls to troll FR and other conservative sites to slander and malign any Republican?
Opportunists never miss a chance.
Let’s hope they don’t get it anytime soon.
It’ll give us more time to prevail.
What a simple doosh this writer is.
Pure projection, if you ask me.
I’m sure the eGop powers that be sent him a nice little gift for this hit piece.. a big chunk of dung.
There’s a difference between con men horning in on the action to rip off money on the one hand, and the buying and selling of influence that goes on in more Establishment circles on the other, though.
We need a comprehensive critique of these groups by someone we can trust and then let us find out what the real truth is.
I attended a Tea Party Express Rally a few years ago. I gave them money, but I was uneasy about them. It had the feeling of a circus side show.
Considering that they are sitting on America's biggest bullseye for foreign wannanuke terrorists and dictators, they ought to worry more about the consequences of believing their own drivel.
Jimmy Carter really hosed us when he gave away the Panama Canal (the Chinese now run it, as invisibly as possible), but New Yorkers are giving away Manhattan to all those Paki and Somali cab drivers. "Victory mosque", indeed. And Noo Yokkers are worried about us?
What’s brown and looks like a stick?
Time flies like an arrow, but fruit flies like a banana.
Not only are they too stupid to act in accordance with their own survival instincts but they're crapping their own nest on their way to extinction.
I agree completely, but the leftists want to see the “Tea Party” as a monolithic organization full of racists, misogynists and haters. It’s Propaganda 101 from the Josef Goebbels playbook.
These people should be ashamed of themselves.
Move America Forward sounds more like a Marxist Group than a Tea Party one.
Pray America wakes up
First tell me what you know.
and those people are too smart, aware and awake than to believe propaganda like this.
Oh, just the usual stuff. Not much. Your turn.
The Left fears the Tea Party because it is a real grassroots movement unlike the manufactured, funded operations they stage. It strikes fear into the Left and the GOPe, which is why they have demonized it repeatedly.
This is taking their malicious mischief to a much higher level of "hatefilled misinformation" and obviously false inplication designed to demoralize what's really the MORAL MOVEMENT of conservatism and politics, today!!!
I have to apologize - I’m lost without emoticons.
That would’ve confused me beyond help - looks like a guy bending over.
You sound like someone who would spit on our Troops returning from battle.
This is Melanie Morgan's group.
I'd expect to hear a response from her shortly.
Morgan is currently the news director at radio station KSRO in Santa Rosa.
I wonder why someone decided to attack this group now?
...financial (and moral) corruption of a Tea Party group operating under the name Move America Forward...Move America Forward is not a Tea Party group.
Still think our spare change and dollars should go directly to candidates we support and not to another useless "party".
They are a Support the Troops organization and do a bang up job in that area.
Give you money anywhere you like, starting with free republic being as you make use of it so much.
And let anyone else choose for themselves who they support.
There is NO Tea "party" so no one can give money to that "useless" party.
Move America Forward does a great job with the money donated to them, using it to support the Troops.
By their logic all democrat are KKK members because Robert Byrd was one....
I thank you for letting me know where she is working now. What hours is she on that station and I wonder if it's on "I heart radio," or "tuned in" or what frequency/band her broadcast is on.
I've really missed her and now Lee Rodgers has passed on. It really sets me off to see these fearful GOPe and liberals that are so fearful that they have to throw crappola at every wall in hopes that some of it sticks! It STINKS!!!
I've pinged "Syncro" cause he knows her even better than I do. When he sees this, he's really gonna be pist!!!
I forgot the bible verse, I think it's a Proverb, that says, "a soft answer turneth away wrath."
You're a good man and I sure am proud of what you have been doing for the cause!!!
Oh yeah they are out in force recently.
I’ve been sockin’ it to ‘em since they started a day or two ago.
Same ol’ talking points that were refuted completely over the last few years when ever they came up.
When you are over the target, then the flack comes.
MAF and Tea Party Express are so effective that the left/dems/GOPe hits them the hardest.
Crickets about the Tea Party Patriots (who were more involved in infighting and raising money back in the day, plus attacked TPX because they—TPP—wanted to be THE leaders of the Tea Party Movement) and Dick Armey’s Freedom Works (slid back into GOPe mode but still consider themselves a “tea party” org.)
The prevailing thought is that this an attack from the left.
Well it sure is, the dem left, the Soros left, and the GOPe left. Rove/Romney etc’s fingerprints are all over these attacks.
I’ve been collecting *crickets* when I set some of the low information FR members and the leftist “concern trolls” straight with facts.
Morgan also co-hosts the morning show.
Monday through Friday from 6am to 9am.
Same hours she had in SF.
That bears repeating.
This is similar to when our founding fathers began to gather and exchange thoughts and plans. For the liberals, it's a big headache now, just as it was for the British sympathizers a couple hundred years ago.
What we call RINOs were called "Tories" and like today's RINOs they were deeply ($$$) invested in the status quo.
Their "tea parties" were afternoon "high teas" rubbing elbows with the British occupiers.
Nope, that is exactly what I thought you meant.
When your first post c/p's a big lie from the article...
...financial (and moral) corruption of a Tea Party group operating under the name Move America Forward...and you do not counter it (therefore legitimatizing it imo) I just take you at your word of what you said.
Just to put the record straight, MAF has NO financial or moral corruption and is NOT a Tea Party group.
...the name of the organization does sound like some leftist group's name, in some posters' opinions.
Well, if that influences you, so be it.
Yeah there is a Soros group with "Move" in it's name.
And another poster said that "forward" is a communist word.
LOL, I have no problem with Move America Forward, sounds good to me!
Oh and BTW, I have never bought into the homosexuals' taking a great word--gay--and tacking it to their evil, immoral, sodomistic HOMOSEXUAL deathstyle.
I've never heard of a limit on posts here, but I imagine posters are taken to the woodshed for repeated spam and leftist posts.
You wouldn’t say the entire Christian church is corrupt just because there are a number of fallen denominations, right? Neither do I believe that the Tea Party is dead just because of Tea Party Express, which is just one group within the Tea Party movement.
I distinctly remember being unimpressed with Tea Party Express back when it and Tea Party Patriots were jostling for mindshare. Tea Party Express seemed more like a whitewashing organization to paint dilapidated establishment candidates with a fresh coat of conservatism.
We certainly shouldn’t stick our heads in the hand and pretend that this isn’t a problem, though. Corruption has become so rampant in society that I literally will not donate to an organization unless I can see for myself exactly how it’s spending its money and what its costs go toward. We should view “conservative” candidates and organizations with a healthy dose of skepticism. Follow the money.
This site is as good a conservative cause as any. I’m proud to be a monthly donor, and I hope that those of you who can’t commit to that will at least chip in a small amount so we can keep going.