Tea Party Patriots will push new $1 million donation to grassroots before midterms

Jon Ward Contributor
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Tea Party Patriots, which has been the least politically involved of the major groups in the Tea Party movement so far, announced Tuesday that it has received $1 million from an anonymous donor and will funnel it to local groups for use before the midterm elections.

The money will be disbursed “no later than Oct. 4 to be spent as we head into this electoral cycle,” said Mark Meckler, a co-founder of the group.

The money, he said, is “not for our organization but intended to go out to the groups on the ground, in the field.”

In comparison to groups like Tea Party Express and FreedomWorks, TPP does not endorse candidates or get involved financially in political campaigns.

But the move to push $1 million to local groups active in organizing before the midterms is its biggest move toward having an electoral impact to date.

Meckler said that 15 percent of groups under TPP’s umbrella endorse candidates, but that none of the groups that receive the money will use it for direct electioneering on behalf of candidates. But it is intended to influence the election, he said, through get out the vote efforts and voter education.

Jenny Beth Martin, another co-founder, was clear that they feel the midterm elections are just a start for their impact on national politics.

“This new Congress, regardless of which party holds the majority … we have to hold their feet to the fire to make sure they are representing the American people,” she said.

“If they continue to spend money, even if it’s a slow trickle of money, or slower trickle of money, like what we had when President Bush and the Republicans controlled the House and the Senate, and President Bush was in the White House, that’s not acceptable. The spending in this country is out of control. It’s just completely out of control.”

The group’s leaders also showed an eagerness to respond to President Obama’s comments Monday challenging the Tea Party to offer solutions to the country’s problems.

“We’re happy to take him up no that,” Martin said. She said the group is soliciting ideas from local activists.

Meckler said the best ideas will be sent to the president “so he can read those by his bedside at night.”

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