Financially Supporting The Tea Party~Food For Thought Before You Show Them The Money

By: Passionate Pachyderms

The five biggest tea party organizations are, (in no particular order)  AFP Americans For Prosperity, Freedom Works, Tea Party Patriots, TeaParty.net, Tea Party Express.

With a number of those five,  it is not readily apparent what the donations sent to them by Americans have been used for,  what the money was spent on, who it went to pay, how much went to pay those people, or why it was paid to them.

Similarly it is also nearly impossible to ascertain where the bulk of those donations come from with some of these organizations, while others are forced to be much more transparent in their accounting.  To quote Hillary Clinton, “What difference does it make? 

It makes a huge difference because generally speaking, those who donate significant sums of money, expect to get something in return for those donations, things like special privileges, introductions,  relationships,  or certainly in the case of politics, specific stances on certain issues, or perhaps the inside track on information, business contacts, or even contracts for services.  
Staff members of one of the organizations I’ll be talking about further along,  admit donations were the result of massive email, and robo call campaigns  that went out on a daily or near daily basis,  which nearly always contained desperate pleas for funds in ways that capitalized on the fears and worries of American citizens,  patriots worried for the survival of our country.

If you are an active Conservative in America, chances are at one point or another, you’ve been the recipient of these emails, in all likelihood, there are probably five or six sitting in your in box right this very moment, touting a narrative that closely aligns with the current crisis de’jour of the Obama administration, the Left, or both.

This constant deluge of CRISIS and those who seem hell bent upon capitalizing on each and every one that is created, is …. Well in a word, sickening.  But even more than that, it is forever changing many of the very things we know and love about our EXCEPTIONAL country, and her citizens.

 Those changes are not good, they chip away at our foundation, and decay the deep felt morals and values this country was founded upon, our sense of right and wrong, standards of decency, respect for our families, friends, neighbors, and communities.

To pray on the emotions of fellow Americans, constantly ratcheting up the bar of what is considered acceptable, or decent, by exaggerating each and every possible issue into earth shattering events, one after another, demanding everyone’s constant attention, exhausting us all emotionally, and eroding our level of sensitivity to a point where even the most egregious outrageous behaviors, have become so common place, so ordinary, that they no longer command immediate response and attention from society as a whole.

BUT, … if you send us $100.00 right now, we might be able to help push the country back from the brink of disaster this time, just in the nick of time for it to be shoved over the proverbial edge by the next crisis.

(FYI) folks, the next one will cost  $200 from each of you,  before we will graciously step in, and once again work our magic and proclaim ourselves the heroes who saved the day, and changed the minds of those in what has become our completely useless, corrupt, dysfunctional, government.

Who do I blame for it?  Well, the left of course.  They started it anyway, with their Rules For Radical politicians and those who are their real live puppets. They adopted the rules as their commandments, and the book as their Bible, and haven’t looked back since.

That said, for those unaware, this “Bible” I speak of is none other than Sal Alinsly’s “Rules For Radicals.”  Think I am kidding? I’m not. Alinsky, interestingly enough even, dedicated the book to  Lucifer on the front page.

This of course “should” have been a huge brightly illuminated blinking indication of what was in store for a country whose leaders, or at least half of them, held Sal Alinsky up as the lefts modern day Moses, all knowing, all seeing, and more importantly,  always thinking about how human nature could be used for the left’s political gain.

One of Alinsky’s 13 rules,  just happens to have been quoted by Obama’s one time chief of staff  Raum Emmanuel, that rule? Why, none other than, “Never let a good crisis go to waste” of course!

Having written hundreds of pages about the subject, while researching Passionate Pachyderms 4 hour educational program on  Alinsky, his rules, how to recognize them, how to know when they are in play and being used against you, and most importantly how to fight back against them, I could go on here at length listing and describing them, but that’s a diatribe for another day.

When some of these organizations observed how well never letting a good crisis go to waste worked for the left,  they opted to engage in the use of some of the same practices, after all… What’s good for the goose… and all that nonsense, right? Well, maybe not, at least not in this instance.

They went to work bending twisting, and using every possible political issue as an excuse to intimidate frighten, anger, manipulate and yes, even guilt Americans into sending their organizations millions of their hard earned dollars,  to “save the American way of life”.

They did this in exactly the same way the left does it when they claim, “it’s for the children,” or  “if it saves just one life”….or gets one more vote

And subsequently, as Americans are known to do, we whipped out our credit cards and check books, and obliged believing that by doing so, we were somehow “saving our country” perhaps even the world without ever having had to leave our homes, become involved in some way or raising a finger to actively engage in the process.

We write those checks, and pay those credit card charges because in some ways, it makes us feel better when we opt to stay home and watch our favorite TV. show instead  of getting up, taking a stand, getting actively involved in person, or going off to actually do something that might in fact really help to save those children.

The same is true here, with the fate of our country.

I’ve heard every possible excuse, I’m too old, it’s too hot,  I’m too young, it’s too cold,  I am disabled, it’s raining,  I have to work, my lawn needs mowing,  I’m tired, I have to go shopping for a new dress, I don’t have a ride, etc. etc. the truth of the matter is, there are very few,  and I do mean very few people, who actually have truly legitimate excuses for not getting involved. This is especially true today when getting involved doesn’t mean you have to actually leave your home to accomplish it.  but again I digress.

The difference is, that because we’ve continued to do this for as long as we have, ignoring the warnings of folks like myself and others who have been SCREAMING that while your generous donations are needed and greatly appreciated, we need you to STAND UP and FIGHT with us!  

When you didn’t, or wouldn’t, we’ve done our best, but been frustrated beyond words as we watched many in this country close their eyes to the creeping approach of those who seek to “fundamentally change America,” thinking if they ignore it, and/or toss money at it from time to time,  they’d done their part, and shouldn’t be expected or asked to do anything more. Some even believe it’s someone else’s job to spend all of their time and energy fighting, and make it all just go away while they sat back and became comfortably numb to all of it, doing nothing to help.

 Nothing that is, except, keep those checks and credit card donations flowing to those huge organizations who have their place, but most of whom aren’t helping those of us on the ground engaged in the hand to hand combat of it all. And now here we are as a country, completely exhausted, broke, and truly teetering at the edge of that very steep cliff.

Now, the boots on the ground need those donations, and lots of them,  we’re also going to need YOU, to push America safely away from the edge.

In a December 3, 2012 mother Jones article it was reported that,  Dick Army had resigned from Freedom Works, remarking only that “Freedom Works had taken a direction he considered to be unproductive.”

As part of his resignation Army received $8 million in “consulting fees” (a golden parachute for just going away and not making any noise about it.)

Eight million dollars which largely came from the pockets of middle class Americans who thought they were sending it to Freedom Works to support an organization dedicated to conservative values, and stopping advancement of the left’s big government agenda.

These middle class Americans got daily calls and emails, sometimes several per day, asking for those donations.  Each call and email was sent out at key times, always pushing doom and gloom and the worst-case scenarios possible based upon current political events. They begged for assistance, repeatedly claiming that without the financial support of each and every member, the worst would in all likelihood come to pass, and leading the recipient of the robo call or email to feel as though if the worst happened, it would likely be at least partially their fault if they didn’t make that donation, “no matter how small.” 

It worked for them. Donations poured in. $1000, here $100 there, but most were between $40.-$50. dollars. Hundreds, thousands of these donations came in daily,  per www.sourcewatch.com and Freedom Works bank account grew quickly by leaps and bounds.

Between 2009 and 2010, during the peak growth of the grassroots tea party movement, in 2008 Freedom Works took in  $4,346,782.

In the 12 weeks before the 2012 election,  twelve million dollars came in within two days of each other, from two sources both in the Knoxville, Tennessee area. The first from  Specialty Investment Group,  and the second  from Kingston Pike Development. Freedom Works employees claim knowledge of the funds having come from the “Richard Stevenson” family.

During this time, Dick Army received a salary of $550,000 for working a reported 18 hours per week. Jacqueline Brown, VP of external affairs received $56,723 salary for 17 hours per week, plus $73,735 from related organizations, and $15,785 in other compensation, and Chris Cannon, VP of interactive technology got $59,582  for 17 hours per week, plus $72,451 from related organizations, and $8124 in other compensation.

In contrast, at the same time, there were thousands of boots on the ground groups with Patriotic members who were devoting 60-90 hours a week, dropping lit, knocking on doors, planning events, attending legislative hearings, meeting with legislators, registering voters, speaking their minds, supporting voter I.D. opposing Obamacare, and fighting any number of other things all reaching critical mass at the same time. For them, finding funding for flyers and phone bills, printing costs, and equipment rentals meant the difference between continuing to fight, or throwing in the towel.

Never under estimate the ability of a Pachyderm to get the job done1

There was always far more that needed to be done then there were people to do it, or funds to do it with. Many passed the hat at meetings, and turned to printing agendas and group information on the back sides of paper which had been used and was being thrown away by businesses, unable to afford providing the handouts any other way.

They made four trips to Washington D.C. in less than a year, doing all they could to convince law makers that not standing against Obamacare early on and stopping it then would result in catastrophe later, on one such trip, the group, their leader and her daughter stood outside the capital building with 70,000 others,  singing, chanting, yelling, screaming, and protesting in effort to sway the opinions of those voting, and make them understand the grave consequences of their actions. Several lost their voices, including the leader who because an existing serious medical condition, was unable to regain her voice for more than 8 weeks. Yes they failed, but they gave it EVERYTHING they had and then some. They went without sleep, without food, and at great personal risk, stood arm in arm fighting for all the millions who wouldn’t go, or couldn’t, they were the voice of the people, and they gave it all they had!

We didn’t see Dick Army there that week, in fact, we didn’t see Freedom Works there at all.

We did however, see Jenny Beth Martin, well let me clarify, we saw her show up, offer a brief 5 minute speech, and then never saw her again in the four days and nights that followed, and when there were problems relating to the permit for folks to be at the capital, Jenny Beth wasn’t answering her phone. I know this because I was the one capital police came to and asked to take responsibility and control of things. I tried to reach Jenny Beth multiple times, she wasn’t answering, couldn’t be found, and never returned any of the 5-6 urgent messages I left.

But we were there 24/7.  We went to be heard, to stand, and to fight, and that is exactly what we did.

And yet….those who weren’t there, or made only brief appearances, were the ones who received donations and support, because donors knew their names, not ours.

Speaking of Jenny Beth’s tea party patriots.

From Forbes.com article dated 6/26/2013 “Key party patriots do some slinging”

 During the period between 6/1/2011 and May 30, 2012 TPP membership grew from 90,000 donors to more than 275,000 donors with an average donation of $44 dollars.  TPP states that their major donors can be counted on two hands and have contributed less than 5% of the total funds raised.

Again this entity founded by Jenny Beth Martin and Amy Kramer, (Kramer left the organization in 2010 citing differences of opinion, and went on to found The  Tea Party Express.  Kremer was later replaced for a time, by Mark Meckler an attorney had previously been involved with Herbalife for several years, and caught up in rumors/ allegations of having played some role in what some described as Pyramid type schemes within the company financial structure.  Yet oddly enough,  Jenny Beth Martin, who had been making a living cleaning the homes of others just prior to founding Tea Party Patriots, and had just a short time earlier gone through the foreclosure of her own home, opted to bring this individual aboard to assist her in running Tea Party Patriots, and its finances including the millions which were at this point pouring in monthly.  **Meckler has since left TPP citing “internal disputes about the leadership of the organization” ( http://dailycaller.com/2012/02/24/exclusive-co-founder-mark-meckler-resigns-from-tea-party-patriots/#ixzz2gIZmic5E ) and has formed a Tea Party organization of his own.

The same questions need to be asked.  Where did the donations of folks like myself and hundreds of thousands of others go to? What was that money used for?  Who was it paid to?  And for what? Finally, could that money have been used more effectively and productively, had it gone to those thousands of grassroots groups and  organizations who actually had boots on the ground and were already working themselves into the ground to achieve their goals?

If only… If only they’d had access to the funds they needed to get things off the ground effectively… Instead though, TEA Party Patriots spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on things like swanky cocktail parties, recruiting, flying in and putting up thousands of individuals from other states in mid to high priced hotels, to locations where TPP wanted to make a show of having “boots on the ground” for publicity reasons. Places  like Wisconsin in support of Governor Scott Walker, and defeating the recall attempt that had been waged by unions and the left.

Now in the interest of full disclosure,  I’m from Wisconsin.  I am one of Scott walker’s biggest supporters, he calls me Jen,  I called him Scott, and we consider each other friends. In fact there is a photo of He and I together at his inaugural ball in my Facebook photo album.

So I support all efforts where he is concerned.  That said, because I was very heavily involved with both his campaigns on the state and local level,  I know that tea party patriots never approached members of Wisconsin tea party groups and organizations looking for, or asking their help, nor offering to make contributions to those groups who provided people willing to help. They could have saved hundreds of thousands of dollars and given those groups the significant funds they needed to continue their work rather than spending the millions they did on the plane rides and hotel rooms rented for weeks or months at a time, in addition to all of the personal expenses of those “they had shipped in” to Wisconsin and other locations.  While we’re asking such questions, why plane rides?  Why not buses? Why Marriott hotels, and Residents Inn’s rather than Comfort Inn’s and Super Eight’s?

How much more effective could their approach have been had those they sent out been neighbors, coworkers, and friends of those who doors they were knocking on?
How is it the thought of trying this far more fiscally conservative approach didn’t seem to occur to Jenny Beth or her staff? And why did they opt instead to fly Folks in from across the country, including some personal friends of mine from Missouri? Seems like an awfully fiscally irresponsible way to spend millions of dollars of other people’s money including, but by no means limited to my own, which had been donated to Tea Party Patriots freely on more than one occasion.

Again Jenny Beth & Company obtained my donations and those of thousands of others by sending out frequent email blasts and pre-recorded Robo calls, each more urgent than those before, which of course also always warned of catastrophic possible consequences if this $5,000 $10,000 or $100,000 wasn’t raised within 24 to 48 hours.

Like with Freedom Works,  the money and donations poured into Tea Party Patriots,  effectively taking it away from those who could have used it more effectively and productively.  Those in the American people’s own backyards where it was needed the most,  and would’ve done the most good.

 Instead those local and state groups and organizations struggled, using up huge amounts of time and energy trying to raise what little funds they could to accomplish what they could.

Incidentally during this time,  reports are that Jenny Beth drew a (comparatively speaking modest salary of between 7 and 10 thousand dollars per month *plus all her related expenses.) To be fair, although I did a fair amount of digging, and had three other individuals doing the same, we were unable to find any truly credible documentation which supports these reported compensation amounts. One stated Jenny Beth drew $6,000 per month salary, another stated she received in excess of $140,000 per year, plus all related expenses. Therefore her actual compensation amount could be more, or it could be less. Additionally, since Jenny Beth’s husband also works for, and is paid by Tea Party Patriots, and controls the organizations finances, it’s is quite possible, and in fact likely, that between the two of them for salary, perks and expenses, a conservative compensation estimate might be in the range of between 350, and 500, thousand dollars per year.  

In any event, a far cry from the amount earned cleaning the homes of others I’m sure. Jenny Beth reportedly does to fly around the country on a private plane, has reportedly purchased several vehicles including more than one high priced sports car, and several homes as well, presumably to replace the one that was foreclosed upon.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m a capitalist, and I congratulate and admire those with remarkable Rags to riches success stories. I sure don’t begrudge them the financial compensation they earn, or the things they choose to purchase with that compensation. Far from it!  But the keywords here are, “Financial compensation they earn.”

When money is donated for causes and/or reasons, well, maybe it’s just me, but, I don’t see that as, someones personal “earned income” to do with as they please.

While those at the top of Tea Party Patriots absolutely deserve to be compensated amply for their effort ideas, time, and abilities, there’s a big difference between being compensated and taking unfair advantage of the generosity of hundreds of thousands of fellow American citizens.

Per the dailykoz.com/story/2011/02/16/943662
“TTP means Tea Party Profiteer to Jenny Beth Martin”

“Former Tea Party Patriots employees told the author of the article that Tea Party Patriots has become a fundraising machine constantly asking for money via email phone and direct mail”

Tea Party Patriots asserts 100% of donations will be used to empower tea party patriots groups by giving them much-needed access to web tools, education, training, event assistance, and networking strategy opportunities.

According to this and other stories the funds went to Martin’s family and GOP fundraising consultants instead.

The Atlanta Journal Constitution’s profile of Martin in May 2010 states, “The Martin’s temporary employment agency went bankrupt in 2008 leaving them owing the IRS over $600,000 in back taxes in the state of Georgia,”  and that Martin’s husband who ran the agency, “now takes a wide ranging role in the tea party patriots organization managing payroll and personal issues.” Former employees described him as “the financial Gate keeper.”

In 2010 mainstream media puppet,  TIME Magazine named Jenny Beth Martin one of “America’s top 100 most influential people”, not bad for someone who was cleaning other people’s homes and bankrupt less than one year earlier.

But again let’s look at what Jenny Beth and her Tea Party Patriots actually did for those the funds donated were supposed to be used to help, http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2012/05/tea-party-patriots-fundraising-fail

You be the judge.
Another major organization collecting millions in donations from those who support the tea party is Americans for prosperity or AFP.

Now, unlike Freedom Works and tea party patriots A. F. P. Has worked hard to support those folks who are working hard to help them. The funds AFP has raised have been spent predominantly on things like member educational opportunities, financial support, and assistance for hundreds of grassroots organizations across the nation. With state directors in place it has given AFP the edge organizationally because those directors then have the ability to become familiar with each group, as well as the members who play lead roles in getting things accomplished in their areas. They are able to recognize which individuals have gained the respect and following of those in their own region as well as throughout their states and in some cases the country.
They have made a practice of supporting those individuals in every way they possibly can, because they understand that by doing so, those people become devoted, trusted, valuable assets to the AFP organization as a whole. In effect, AFP seems to get it, that these individuals are their greatest assets, and are worth their weight in more than just Gold!

AFP has also made a practice of rewarding those who accomplished the most with opportunities to attend national and regional conferences as well as conventions where they can network with others learn from them and take advantage of the knowledge provided by national political figures too.

Often AFP does this at greatly reduced cost of those individuals and occasionally at no charge to them with AFP footing the bill.

Obviously some might ask how is this different than what the others do? Excellent question.

It’s difference lies in the fact that AFP isn’t just flying these people in for a swanky cocktail party, or an event on the lawn of the U.S. capital, instead, they are doing it to help further train and educate these folks, and provide them with valuable opportunities to connect both with each other, and those who are professionals in the world of politics, fundraising, leadership, volunteer training, the U.S. Constitution, candidate selection, promotions, campaigning, advertising, campaign finance, organization, and a long list of other learning and training opportunities that these individuals couldn’t possibly have been offered otherwise.

The difference also becomes apparent when one considers that AFP typically offers these opportunities to their members as I mentioned earlier, at greatly reduced prices, and to do this, instead of flying five people in, putting them up in a high priced hotel and whining and dinning them, they charter a bus, opening the opportunity up to 45-60 individuals and their friends and family members (don’t forget that the 13 and 14 year olds of today, are the ones who will be voting in the next presidential elections four years from now, and the 10 and 11 year olds, the election after that. Plus studies have shown, that if you gain the attention and respect of a child that age, and make them feel as though they are an important part of things, they will remain loyal to that belief system in most cases for the rest of their lives.)

There REALLY is a great deal of truth to the phrase, “catch em’ young.”  This btw is something the left totally understands, but that the Republicans continue to completely ignore and make zero attempts to change. This is what I believe will be a big part of their ultimate demise.

To be clear AFP isn’t perfect, they’ve had their problems as most organizations do, however in their defense, from my own experiences with AFP when those issues or problems have arisen,  Americans For Prosperity has been quick to investigate and pluck out the root of the problem,  then carry-on,  not allowing the bad to overshadow the good. They are definitely to be commended for this.

As for the money, Media Transparency found that Americans for Prosperity Foundation has received seven grants totaling $1,181,000 between 2004 to 2006 with $1 million coming from the Claude R. Lambe Charitable Foundation, one of the Koch Family Foundations.[6]

In its 2007 annual tax return, the AFP Foundation reported revenue of $5.7 million with expenditures of nearly $6.8 million. While the AFP Foundation ran at a loss that year, it had reserves. Of its expenditure, $2.1 million went to national office operations with just over $2.9 million allocated to the state-based chapters. Americans for Prosperity is led on the national level by its president, Tim Phillips,

AFP’s 2007 IRS report reflects the following employees salaries and benefits:[13]

  • Michelle Korsmo – AFPF paid $96,883 in salary and $12,651 in benefits in 2007
  • Tim Phillips – AFPF paid $185,843 in salary and $17,236 in benefits in 2007
  • Ed Frank – AFPF paid $62,059 in salary and $5,401 in benefits in 2007

 Okay so what is my point with all of this information?

It may surprise you to know that my point is NOT to defame anyone, or make these organizations look bad. They have all without question done things to further the Conservative Grass roots movement. I have ZERO doubt that the intentions and motives of those who are involved or working for/with them are above board and perfectly legitimate.

 In short,  it is without question my belief that these folks have/are doing what they feel is best for their organizations, and there is NOTHING wrong with doing that,  in fact it is to be commended.

It isn’t easy or simple to go from knowing nothing or relatively little about politics and the dealings of those involved in them, to being one of the top 100 most influential people in America because you founded a political organization I’m sure.

Having owned a cleaning business myself for a number of years, I respect and commend the Martins for doing what they had to do in order to support their family during tough times, and respect the fact that they found their way out of what I’m certain was a very troubling, and stressful situation.

The fact that the left and the main stream media puppets have nothing really bad to say about TPP or the Martins, is a testament to the people they truly are.

My point in writing this exceedingly long diatribe rather,  is to bring attention to those who didn’t receive millions of dollars in donations, who weren’t / aren’t in front of the media cameras daily, who aren’t paid a hundred dollars a year for their efforts, let alone a hundred thousand,  and whose expenses have never been reimbursed.  Those individuals who have worked tirelessly, and  made HUGE contributions to this movement quietly, without fanfare, beneath the radar, and have been every single day for years..

It’s about helping those people, and giving them a chance to show you what they can do with your financial support.

There are some of you out there reading this who are financially able to contribute to these organizations, groups, and individuals without ever missing the amount you helped them with,  PLEASE DO IT.

To those large groups, both those I’ve mentioned, and those I haven’t, I’d advise you to start looking in this direction for talented, smart individuals, who can and will make a difference in your  organization, group, business, or lives, and are just waiting for you to open the door and offer them a chance.

Buy from/ Use small business owners whenever possible to get the merchandise and/or services you need.  The prices will be better, the quality will be better, the effort will be better, and the relationship you cultivate may be the one that holds the key to your continued success later on.

If you’re a big fish, reach out in ways that allow others to grow big enough to swim with you, because it’s safer, and a lot more fun than swimming alone.

Fellow Patriot and Tea Party member Kim Paris is reaching out and doing what she can to accomplish exactly this with her  Foundation for Common Sense. www.fundingmainstreetpatriots.org. I encourage EVERYONE, individuals, groups, donors, and businesses to check it out, and consider the possibilities in what she is attempting to do.  Kim is devoting all of her time to getting this off the ground, and not drawing a salary while she does. That is the kind of devotion to the cause I am talking about!!

Similarly, this kind of devotion is exhibited by our fellow patriots and friends at BigDawgMusicMafia.com,  those at pithypins.com,  and of course, those of us right here at PassionatePachyderms.com.

It’s time to reach out, time to gather, time to be heard,  and time to FIGHT,  Together!

Join us, Help “Fill The Field” at the Rally For Common Sense, October 12, 2013 And Let’s Make A Roar They Can’t Ignore!

www.rallyforcommonsense.org         www.passionatepachyderms.com

 

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