August 30, 2011
"Government is instituted for the common good; for the protection, safety, prosperity, and happiness of the people; and not for profit, honor, or private interest of any one man, family, or class of men; therefore, the people alone have an incontestable, unalienable, and indefeasible right to institute government; and to reform, alter, or totally change the same, when their protection, safety, prosperity, and happiness require it." -John Adams, 2nd president of the United States 1797-1801
There are several reasons for additional articles on our Tea Parties. First let me say, the response to the first two parts of the article were overwhelming. I received over 800 e-mails and hopefully succeeded in answering all of them. Many said I'd hit the nail on the head with explaining the problems the various Tea Party organizations around the country were facing. Many of the parties had already faced the problem of infiltration by progressive republicans, leftists masquerading as Tea Party folks, and change agents. A few had solved the problems, but the majority were still at odds, especially with leadership which seemed to be the biggest area of concern. Some felt they had been infiltrated and totally neutralized.
Secondly, I had about 50 e-mails that wanted to know about the two largest entities, Tea Party Patriots and Tea Party Nation. I believe fellow News With Views writer, J.B. Williams has actually covered some of the problems. This article will hopefully delve into more detail regarding these larger organizations.
Third and of special importance is a correction that needs to be made from the first article. I don't know of a journalist or a researcher that doesn't make mistakes from time to time, but I pride myself on targeting the truth and on correcting errors. This time, I made an error by believing an old and vicious rumor that I should have checked more thoroughly before I linked to it. The link was in regards to the John Birch Society founder, Robert Welch. The link stated that Welch's candy company was purchased by a Rockefeller holding at a large sum of money in order that Welch head up the new John Birch Society. Now it is well known that Rockefeller monies have funded other large organizations, but the JBS through Welch's candy company is not one of them. Robert's candy company had failed and he went to work for his brother's candy company until 1956. I believe it was in 1958 that he started the John Birch Society. It wasn't until the early 60s that James Welch sold his candy company to Nabisco. Whether Nabisco was owned in part or in whole by any Rockefeller entity is of no importance inasmuch as funds from the sale of James' candy company were not instrumental in funding Robert's new Society.
At his request, I was fortunate enough to have an opportunity to speak to John McManus, the President of the John Birch Society for 90 minutes by phone. It was a personal and private conversation that I will never release. However, Mr. McManus explained thoroughly to me the various rumors and innuendos that had been circulating from the very beginning of the JBS and his frustration in trying to quell them. I found him to be totally forthright and honest as well as being a total gentleman when I asked some very hard questions. I've always had respect for John McManus, having put him on dozens of radio shows over the years when I was an executive producer for talk show hosts, but now I really think the world of him. We discussed the various situations that JBS ran into through the years that seem to be parallel to what the Tea Parties are facing, with both members and organizations that weren't what they originally represented themselves to be. Mr. McManus made it clear that many members actually left their unsavory affiliations when they learned through JBS of what was really behind these groups. Some organizations and members however had to be dropped from any association with the Society because of their undesirable activities and alliances.
No matter what group is started that is working to restore the Republic, it will be attacked by the sources seeking to destroy the Republic. Infiltrators come in all shapes and sizes and with many different masks. Mr. McManus gives us the answer, and it should make it clear. If we can't show those who join the Tea Party with untoward intentions how wrong they are, then the only solution that remains is to exclude their access. Mr. McManus and I may disagree on certain points, but for the love of our country and those we know are the enemies of freedom, we are in total agreement. I grew up surrounded by my mother's friends, many of whom were Birch members. All of them were dear to me and all of them loved their country.
My sincere apologies to the JBS for a link that proved to be false. And my sincere thanks for a very frank and honest discussion of what JBS has faced through the years as well as what we face in the Tea Parties. Mr. McManus was very kind to me as well as very complimentary on my article. I hope he considers me a friend and a fellow patriot. Now, on to the business at hand.
Tea Party Nation
Tea Party Nation (TPN) was started by a former assistant district attorney Judson Phillips in Shelby County, Tennessee in 2009. According to Tami and Smith Kilmarx, former Tea Party volunteers, after opening his own law practice, Phillips would meet his meager clientele in Starbuck's . He has failed to pay IRS taxes and has been saddled with liens, and since 2002, he has failed to update state mandated paperwork for his business. Smith says, "From the beginning, Phillips wanted to make money on the Tea Party movement." Tami Kilmarx said she heard him say he wanted to make a million on the Tea Party project. Phillips convinced people to volunteer hundreds of hours of their time to make a Tea Party social network for conservatives, and he wanted it bigger than Facebook. What disturbed Smith was the fact that on the Tea Party Nation website, the donation box went straight into wife, Sherry Phillips' PayPal account. While Smith was working as a volunteer, more than $4000 came in as donations and there was no accounting of these funds.
Most of us remember what happened here in Nashville in February of 2010 and have always considered Judson Phillips to be a patriot for profit. TPN organized the National Tea Party Convention held in Nashville with guest speakers, Sarah Palin, Michelle Bachmann, Tennessee Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn, and Tea Party Patriots. This event turned into a "for profit" cost of $549 per person for the convention and another $349 for the Palin speech that put the proceeds into his wife's PayPal account. When news got out, everyone including co-sponsors, American Liberty Alliance and National Precinct Alliance backed out except for Sarah Palin who was receiving $100,000 for her speaking engagement. At the convention, it was announced that a 501(c)(4) corporation and political action committee (PAC) called "Ensuring Liberty" would be formed to support candidates for office in the 2010 elections.
Journalist J.B. Williams wrote in his article, When Profits Trump Patriotism,
"There are two very important mistakes that will cause conflict within the patriot movement immediately…
Any attempt to profit on the volunteer work of other patriots
2. Any appearance of an RNC effort to control the people’s movement"
TPN is one of the larger groups and I'd agree with many of their stances, including mentioning the eligibility question in July of 2011. Few other Tea Parties have uttered a word, much less championed the eligibility cause. Obama care is another high priority for elimination that no one in the Tea Parties nor the GOP candidates even mention. Everyone knows that conservatives differ so much that getting them together on any one subject is like herding cats, but this group sure leaves a bitter taste in my mouth. I have to ask, "What are they doing to save the Republic?"
Journalist and retired Seal Jim O'Neill recently had a short article on this very subject which is well worth the read. At the bottom of the article is GiveDirect.org for donations to the Navy Seal Foundation.
Tea Party Patriots
Jenny Beth Martin, Mark Meckler and Amy Kremler are co-founders of Tea Party Patriots, a non-profit organization with an alleged 1,800 chapters and 15 million members around the country. Martin is the CEO and National Coordinator for TPP. She was also the National Coordinator for the 9/12 March on DC and is the Director of Political Operations for Smart Girl Politics. She is 39 years old, the mother of young twins and was raised in Atlanta, Georgia. Before Martin became a Tea Party star, she was scrubbing floors and cleaning houses for suburbanites after her husband's business went bankrupt in 2007. Nothing wrong with physical labor and hard work, but she's sure had a lifestyle change heading up TPP. Today she is making $6,000 a month.
Let's take a look at who Jenny Beth Martin had as speakers at the 9/12 March on D.C. One of the top guests was former FBI agent Gary Aldrich, long time secret Council for National Policy (CNP) member. He now runs the Patrick Henry Center for Individual Liberty, a group he founded whose board includes CNP members Ollie North (Rex 84 and Fema), Edwin Meese, Dominionist Howard Phillips, Beverly LaHaye and many others. Others at the podium that day were former Oklahoma Congressman and fellow CNP member, Ernest Istook. Odd that the organizers would choose someone like Istook when he was implicated in fellow CNP member Jack Abramoff's lobbying scandal. Along with receiving at least $29,000 in campaign contributions from Abramoff's firm, he got Jack's sky box tickets during a Washington Redskins game for a fundraiser. Istook returned the favor by asking Abramoff what his clients would like to see in an upcoming transportation bill loaded with juicy treats of pork barrel spending. Istook's chief of staff pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges for taking perks from lobbyists for favors. Why in heaven's name would the Tea Party people want to be aligned with someone like Istook? It's quite obvious the old CNP folks who have been in bed with the left for decades have easily infiltrated these large groups. Again I'd have to ask, "What did any of this do to help save the Republic?"
Jenny Beth's husband Lee Martin ran his own company, Indwell for about eight years, a company that supplied non-English speaking temporary day laborers to local businesses. He blamed a former business partner for the company failure, but he also failed to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in payroll taxes.
According to TPM, "the couple's bankruptcy filing, made in August 2008 to the US Bankruptcy Court for Georgia's Northern District stated that Martin and her husband Lee Martin, of Woodstock, Georgia, owed the IRS $510,000, after making a payment of $16,640 that June. The couple also owed just over $71,000 to Ford Motor Credit, the automaker's financing arm." At the time of the bankruptcy filing they were in debt more than $1.4 million and also owed the Georgia tax authorities $172,000.
Today, Lee Martin manages TPP's finances and is identified as the group's assistant treasurer in some corporate filings. He manages payroll and personnel issues. Most former TPP members feel there's a lack of wisdom in placing a person with a dubious financial background and a load of debt in charge of the TPP's finances, especially since he's the spouse of one of the leaders. Certainly seems like a conflict of interest.
Mark Meckler was originally a disk jockey, then a business attorney and Internet political entrepreneur in southern California; his firm, Opt-In Movement, worked for Republican causes including CNP member Dick Armey's FreedomWorks. He was a Tea Party movement activist before co-founding Tea Party Patriots (TPP). Meckler has worked hard to position the movement as a grassroots uprising, independent of both political parties. However, only a few years ago, Meckler was involved in an online political consulting firm with ties to the GOP -- a fact that could intensify the fears of some Tea Party activists that their movement is being hijacked by Republican political operatives, which I believe is already a done deal in the majority of them. Meckler is now a commentator on Fox News.
In early June, 2011, Meckler appeared on a panel in DC discussing the future of the tea party movement. Speaking at CNP member and former Christian Coalition leader Ralph Reed's Faith and Freedom Conference, Meckler stated the Tea Party was in a battle for the culture of the country. What he didn't tell you was that once again he was aligned with the former friends of CNP member Jack Abramoff. This conference was organized by CNP politico and former head of Pat Robertson's Christian Coalition, Ralph Reed, with whom virtually every GOP presidential contender will be trying to court evangelical voters. In 2006 Reed was getting shellacked in a race for lieutenant governor of Georgia in no small part because of his close ties to the felonious lobbyist Jack Abramoff where he raked in $4 million from Abramoff to rally Christian voters to vote against Native American casinos.
Emails released during the Abramoff investigation did not show Reed in a Godly light. In many of them he was pressing Abramoff to send him clients and cash saying, "I need to start humping in corporate accounts!...I'm counting on you to help me with some contacts." The e-mails also suggested he lied about how much he knew regarding what Abramoff was up to. Reed's downfall at the time was a huge disgrace, but now he's back.
Reed's new organization is Faith and Freedom Coalition designed to be a link between Tea Parties and churches. So when he shows up with his slanted voter guides, beware of what he's up to. Decades ago, we caught the Christian Coalition voter guides purposely "accidentally" misrepresenting constitutionalists, and giving rave votes to the RINOs.
Amy Kremler has since left TPP and started Tea Party Express. Meckler said TPP rejected Amy Kremler because TPP tries to be nonpartisan, while the "Our Country Deserves Better" PAC, which founded Tea Party Express, raises funds for Republicans. Sounds like the pot calling the kettle black since there's a huge amount of evidence of TPP accepting funds from prominent Republicans. Her leaving was acrimonious.
Tea Party Patriots' Finances
TPP was incorporated in Woodstock, George in June of 2009, and identified the group as a 501(c)(4). This means the group does not pay taxes, but donations to the group are not tax deductible. And here's the clincher, TPP will suck in millions of dollars from partisan fat-cats who know that 501(c)4 groups don’t have to reveal their donors and can be heavily involved in politics without giving up their exemption. Tea Party Patriots have courted the GOPs evangelical wing through the secretive Council for National Policy. Grover Norquist convinced the CNP to join with the Tea Party, please see this important article.
Even though TPP raised millions of dollars since its founding in February 2009, they had not applied to the IRS for official status. This is allowable by the IRS prior to official approval, nevertheless they are required to file 990s which disclose how much money they've raised, how much staff is paid and where the funds are spent. TPP normally should have filed a 990 in April 2010, or with an extension by November 15, 2010. Instead, TPP has decided May 31, is the end of their fiscal year. Thus, their first tax form for 2009 didn't have to be filed until April 2011, two years after they were founded. I could not find their 990 listed on Guidestar.org. There is nothing illegal here, but like our D.C. politicians, they're certainly not being transparent.
Tea Party leaders have refused to share financial information with their members and those who have tried to gain access to the information have found themselves threatened with lawsuits or shut out of the organization. TPP has even tried to buy the silence of former board members, offering thousands for confidentiality agreements. Their lack of openness about finances has left many staffers and organizers in the dark about the millions of dollars the group has raised in the last two years. TPP's national website clearly states that 100% of the funds raised go to furthering their efforts, yet that's after paying out salaries, consultants, telemarketers, attorneys, expenses, etc. They are now soliciting funds from all the small tea parties around the country.
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Meckler has refused to say how much he's being paid and rumors are fueled by the fact that he and Jenny are spending on rallies, hotels, airfares so they can talk to potential donors. Much of this money has come from the small tea party groups nationwide. Meckler and Martin seem to be adept at raising money and have hired a team of high-priced PR consultants and GOP connected direct mail and telemarketing firms that work for the "Who's who" of the Republican politicians, including some of the GOP's most secretive campaign operations. Yet, they are also adept at avoiding any transparency on their finances. These two bash the Republicans for not doing enough to cut the spending, yet both fly around in private jets, stay at high priced hotels, and apparently dine quite well.
© 2010 Kelleigh Nelson - All Rights Reserved
Kelleigh Nelson has been researching the Christian right and their connections to the left, the new age, and cults since 1975. Formerly an executive producer for three different national radio talk show hosts, she was adept at finding and scheduling a variety of wonderful guests for her radio hosts. She and her husband live in Knoxville, TN, and she has owned her own wholesale commercial bakery since 1990. Prior to moving to Tennessee, Kelleigh was marketing communications and advertising manager for a fortune 100 company in Ohio. Born and raised in Chicago, Illinois, she was a Goldwater girl with high school classmate, Hillary Rodham, in Park Ridge, Illinois. Kelleigh is well acquainted with Chicago politics and was working in downtown Chicago during the 1968 Democratic convention riots.