Tea party groups are making and spending millions, but not on candidates

Two well-known tea party groups spent more than 80 percent of the money they raised in 2013 not on the causes and candidates that they say it is their mission to support, but on operating expenditures, like paying consultants, companies who produce mailing materials and renting mailing lists.

The new Tea Party Patriots Citizens Fund and the independent expenditure arm of Tea Party Express — the Our Country Deserves Better PAC — spent a majority of the money they raised on things other than political expenditures.

The Tea Party Patriots Citizens Fund has been raising money since early last year. The goal of the super PAC, said Tea Party Patriots co-founder Jenny Beth Martin in a statement posted to the website, is to be a “community organizing for conservatives,” that will help “provide activists with resources… to organize friends, neighbors, and communities around a freedom agenda in an effort to put people in office who will be true representatives of the people.”

“The mission of the PAC will be to support good citizen-candidates to run for public office and represent the views of the majority of Americans in all levels of government,” Martin added.

So far, no money has been spent to support those candidates. According to the year-end spending report filed with the Federal Election Commission, of the $6,405,087 that the group has raised since early last year, $5,335,162 has been spent, and all of it has been put toward operating expenditures.

A vast majority of the donations came from donors who gave under $200 — the committee reported $4,702,716 in unitemized donations under the $200 mark.

The sums that were paid out by the group were much larger.