Tea Party: “You Didn’t Build That”
VIRGINIA, June 11, 2014- It’s been 24 hours since the polls closed in Virginia, and the political establishment was rocked in what is being called the most earth-shattering defeat in decades.
National Tea Party groups have been fast to speak out and congratulate Brat on defeating Eric Cantor (R-Va.), the GOP’s second most powerful Republican. As is often the case, when a big win is scored, those with large megaphones are always ready to speak up.
“Congratulations to Dave Brat on his huge upset. The statement from the grassroots could not be any clearer. It doesn’t matter what office you hold or how powerful you are. If you lose touch with activists on the ground, then your seat is in danger,” wrote FreedomWorks’ Matthew Kibbe. “The grassroots are taking their seat back at the table and returning accountability to Washington. Votes on Capitol Hill will be heard back in the district,” he added. “We are proud to stand with Dave Brat in his election and look forward to working with him to reform Washington, D.C.”
Tea Party Patriots, one of the largest Tea Party groups in the nation, said in a statement: “Dave Brat won tonight in Virginia because he effectively harnessed the outrage at Washington over policies that have not been repetitive of the people …” She added on Twitter: Eric Cantor “lost his election – is the establishment dead? Way to go #teaparty activists in VA. You the grassroots won. #noamnesty won.”
You are proud to stand with Brat? But wait– You didn’t!
They all champion Brat, as if they had been cheering him all along, and yet not one of them gave him a dime. Club for Growth, Madison Project, Tea Party Network, Tea Party Patriots, Tea Party Express— not a single dime. In natural political fashion, never let a tragedy– or victory go to waste. Now, they will all continue to send out newsletters to their massive email lists claiming “See what we did in Virginia! We can take the country back! –Oh, P.S. please donate $10.” In fact, they’ve already started sending them– touting Brat’s victory as a reason to donate more to their respective groups. Why? Again, you all did nothing.
In fact, all of these groups have been collecting millions in donations, and they have not put a single dime into many winnable races.
According to a Washington Post report, the six largest national Tea Party groups have spent more than $37.5 million on the mid-terms so far. However, only $7 million of the spent donations have actually gone directly to candidates. Where did the other $30.5 million go? Well, it goes directly into their family members’ pockets for ‘consulting fees’, giving themselves lucrative benefit packages, paying themselves $272k/year salaries, and even spending $52k in interior decorating fees for one of their fancy Capitol Hill town-homes. How fiscally conservative of them.
Of course, there are fixed and variable costs, and the best talent should be paid what the market demands.
However, three of the largest groups — the Tea Party Patriots, the Tea Party Express and the Madison Project — have spent only 5 percent (some even less) of their money directly on election-related activity during this mid-term election cycle. Two other prominent tea party groups, the Senate Conservatives Fund and FreedomWorks, have devoted about 40 percent. In contrast, the average Super-PAC devotes more than 60% of their funds directly to candidates.
Dear Tea Party Patriots’ Jenny Beth Martin,
If you’re paying yourself $272k/year (plus a $15k/month ‘consulting fee’) and are devoting 5% of total resources to candidates then what in the hell are you doing to deserve $272k/year + $15k/month? What are you doing with the other 95% of your time and money?
National Tea Party groups are becoming the very monsters they tell you all to fear and hate in their fundraising emails. Their most recent emails and statements should reflect shame and sorrow. They should be apologizing to Brat and countless other candidates they are completely ignoring while convincing millions of people to fund their luxury lifestyles. However, they won’t apologize. Instead, they will simply send more fallicious fundraising emails to capitalize off of Brat’s victory.
These groups did absolutely nothing to help Brat beat Cantor. The local tea party and grassroots activists are 100% responsible for the win.
Donors Beware: Do not be fooled by their emails. Do not let them score millions of your dollars off of Brat’s victory. Give your money directly to a candidate (never to the party) and give to local groups only.
*Michael Lotfi is a Persian-American political analyst and adviser living in Nashville, Tennessee where he works as the executive state director for the Tenth Amendment Center and is the national campaign director for the “Nullify Obamacare” legislative agenda. Lotfi is a Belmont University honors graduate.
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