Those who identify themselves as Tea Partiers always become angry when accused of being gullible and falling for the Koch brothers agenda of a U.S. corporate takeover – but many have fallen for a scam being run by one of their own groups.
The Tea Party Leadership Fund raised $1,171,143 for the 2012 election cycle, and spent nearly all of it, with $220,047 on hand after the election. The thing is, that of the $951,097 spent, only $52,000 went to candidates for office — many not even Tea Party candidates! Some were the RINOs the PAC is targeting in their new fundraising campaign, the Primaries For Traitors Fund: for example, Representative Steve Daines (R-MT), who they have listed as having received $5,000 from them for the 2014 cycle.
The Primaries for Traitors campaign is touted as an effort to unseat Congressional Republicans who voted to reopen the government and avoid a default on the national debt in October. The campaign plays on the emotions stirred up by the propaganda machine of the far right against what they refer to as traitors to the party — and judging by the numbers, apparently with great success.
So far, for the 2014 election cycle, they have raised $1,377,023 and spent $1,386,195 having contributed $34,500 to a handful of candidates and leaving them with $210,875 cash on hand as of the end of June this year.
It appears that the bulk of the money the fund has spent has gone to DB Capitol Strategies, PLLC, which is owned and run by Dan Backer, who coincidentally happens to be the Treasurer of the Tea Party Leadership Fund.
It’s tempting to laugh at the gullible being taken advantage of by their own, but at the same time it highlights the insanity so prevalent in the Tea Party movement. So many of those who identify with the movement are being duped into voting against their own best interests in the misguided belief that they are part of a grassroots populist movement when the candidates that they’re voting for owe their souls to selfish corporatists.
The deception actually gets worse, though: these contributors are donating to what they believe to be a far-right organization, only to have their money passed on to other PACs such as ZETEPAC, a PAC dedicated not to a political ideology but to electing alumni of the Zeta Psi fraternity, to which Backer contributed $2,305 from the fund. ZETEPAC in turn has contributed to the campaigns of people such as Democratic California State Senator Alex Padilla and Democratic New York City Councilman Dan Garodnick.
Another $2,000 went to Fraternity & Sorority PAC, a group which has supported the campaigns of Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Kay Hagan (D-NC), Tim Johnson (D-SD), Mary Landrieu (D-LA), and Robert Menendez (D-NJ). All of these Senators voted for the ACA, the Tea Party’s most hated piece of legislation.
They are now also engaged in a fundraising campaign to demand refunds of contributions to the “traitor RINOs” they have donated to, setting up a rinorefund.com site for people to use to demand those refunds, along with a site where (incredibly) the disgruntled can donate to efforts to obtain these refunds.
One option that the contributors won’t find on the refund page: a button for demanding a refund from Mr. Backer and his TEA Party Leadership Fund for the money that they have collected under false pretenses.