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Tea Party Predators

By Greg L | 15 November 2014 | Virginia Politics | 6 Comments

Later this month the Virginia Tea Party Federation will hold its annual summit in Richmond, and once again, I will not be there.  Not because I have a conflict, or otherwise have some reason why I couldn’t be there, I just wouldn’t ever want to set foot inside an event so co-opted by the “let’s make money off of conservatives” trolls who use the grassroots conservative movement as little more than their personal piggy bank.

Headlining the event is Jenny Beth Martin of the Tea Party Patriots, one of the worst offenders of the lot.  In 2012 her personal compensation from leading the PAC jumped from $200,864 to $280,620, plus a $15,000 monthly “consulting fee.” Meanwhile, Tea Party Patriots spent $7.8 million on “office expenses” and $3.8 million on professional fundraising expenses so they could do absolutely nothing for candidates and causes other than dish out a relatively paltry $479,470 in grants to local tea party organizations.  When Dave Brat’s campaign was starving for money actually doing the heavy lifting of running a grassroots challenge to an entrenched politician who had lost touch, Brat’s campaign couldn’t even get their phone calls to Jenny Martin returned, although they were pretty happy to take credit for the “win” they had nothing to do with.  Yet for some reason I can’t possibly fathom, this very person is the keynote speaker at the federation’s annual summit.

Heck, why not invite Lois Lerner?  She has arguably harmed the conservative grassroots movement to a lesser degree than Jenny Martin, who rips off donors so she can upscale her lifestyle from being a house cleaner into a jet-setter and Fox News personality.  Lois Lerner might have attempted to steal your freedom, but she didn’t try to steal your money.

Folks like Tea Party Patriots and FreedomWorks are happy to bombard your phone with telemarketers begging for your money, and they’re sure happy to cash your check, but instead of actually working to elect conservatives to office they’re a lot more likely to funnel that money back into fundraising efforts lead by friends, family members and sometimes, even themselves.  Organizations like these prey on the grassroots, diverting money from where it might actually accomplish something and making sure it finds its way into the pockets of the organizational leadership and their friends.  They utterly do not deserve a platform among the grassroots, they deserve tar and feathers, and to be run out of Virginia on a rail with a stern warning to stay away.

I cannot imagine what the Virginia Tea Party Federation was thinking here, and I’m genuinely concerned they’re getting roped into becoming the same sort of outfit as Jenny Martin’s fraudulent scheme to rob unsuspecting conservatives of their hard-earned dollars.  If the federation thinks an organization such as the Tea Party Patriots are in any way worthy of their attention, it might be time to start over on the idea of having a state-wide umbrella organization for the Tea Party.

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  1. Winston1 said on 15 Nov 2014 at 6:07 pm:
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    Capitalism at its finest….it actually only proves that some people are only loyal to whatever feathers their nests.

  2. anon said on 16 Nov 2014 at 10:45 pm:
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    Looks like there was a debate about Jenny Beth Martin and if she did help out.

    I would be curious to see who is right.

    Any word on how much they really help?

  3. N Janine Woods said on 17 Nov 2014 at 8:32 am:
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    I spit on Jenny Beth Martin’s name!!

  4. El Cid said on 17 Nov 2014 at 9:23 am:
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    I am reminded of the story in the gospel of Mathew. Jesus dined at Mathew’s home, and was joined by sinners and tax-collectors. The Pharisee’s stood outside and refused to enter, not because Jesus was present, but rather because there were “unclean” individuals also present. So, by refusing to be where those they disapproved of were also present, they missed a tremendous opportunity.

    Kinda makes you think….

  5. Peter Sperry said on 22 Nov 2014 at 11:31 am:
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    Shearing the sheep has been a major problem in conservative (and presumably) liberal circles for at least 40 years. Direct mail and phone bank prospecting is never cheap but the business has also been a magnet for predators. Costs of fund raising exceeding 90 and sometimes 100% are not uncommon. It really hurts to contract for a phone bank and receive a bill at the end rather than a check. A possible apocryphal story recounts that Jerry Falwell had questions about one early mail/phone operation raising funds for the Moral Majority. He decided to visit their offices for an explanation. When he saw the number of Mercedes and BMWs in the parking lot, he knew where the problem was and pulled the contract.

    My observation since 1975 is that at least 60-70 percent of political action organizations and 80-95% of fundraising corporations are formed purely to suck money from gullible rubes and have little if any real interest in impacting public policy.

    The party organizations, for all their obvious problems, at least tend to have better intentions; but the best course of action for small dollar (under $100,000) donors is to just contribute directly to the candidate. Contribute the full amount you are comfortable with as early in the process as possible when it will do the most good. Ignore the flood of requests for additional donations.

  6. Anon said on 26 Nov 2014 at 5:10 am:
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    The party organizations are just as bad, they hire the same firms as the other groups. The more local the group the greater accountability.

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