New Tea Party PAC: Can it raise $10 million for midterm revolt?
Tea Party Nation announced at its first convention Friday that it’s forming a political action committee to help fund, train, and guide upstart campaigns across the country. It won’t be the first, or likely the last.
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“I think the tea party movement has largely descended into ego and quest for purpose for individuals at the expense of what the tea party movement started out to be,” RedState.com’s Erick Erickson, an influential conservative columnist based in Georgia, wrote recently, adding, “I think this national tea party convention smells scammy.”Skip to next paragraph
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Tea Party Nation spokesman Mark Skoda, who will head the nonprofit Ensuring Liberty Corp. and oversee the new PAC, unwittingly played into that skepticism Friday when he told reporters at a press conference that his PAC would bring new levels of transparency to the political process – and then refused to name the five other board members. (He said he’d announce their names next week.) Mr. Skoda also said he may financially benefit for work he does for the PAC.
The other major PAC, Tea Party Express, has been criticized by groups such as the American Liberty Alliance for resembling a Republican “astroturf” organization – using the tea party’s populist appeal to push a partisan GOP agenda. (See also the court fight in Florida over the tea party name.)
To be sure, antisocialist and pro-states’ rights activists like Skoda and Tea Party Nation founder Judson Phillips, a Nashville lawyer, have found in the tea party movement a broad platform to help resist the progressive Democratic agenda in Washington while pushing basic tenets of fiscal responsibility, smaller government, and national security.
How wide and deep-pocketed that appeal is, the organizers promise, will be apparent via a comprehensive website where donors can track the Ensuring Liberty PAC’s efforts down to the dollar. Skoda believes the PAC will raise $10 million this year.
“We’ve been called racists and Nazis, but we’re comfortable with what we’re doing,” Skoda says. “Our government has got to stop not listening. The majority is not being heard.”
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