4/13/11, "Mystery Group Gets D.C. Help," TheTeaParty.net Offers Few Clues About Goals," The Hill, Janie Lorber
"A little-known, Arizona-based tea party organization has hired a prominent Republican operative to help advance its mission in Washington, D.C. But after more than a year in operation and hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations, it’s still not clear what the group’s mission actually is.
Todd Cefaratti, founder of TheTeaParty.net, announced last week that the group had hired a big Washington gun: governmental affairs specialist Donna Wiesner Keene, a veteran of the Bush and Reagan administrations and the wife of the incoming president of the National Rifle Association, [and longtime CPAC pres.] David Keene.
Donna Keene said she will act as an intermediary between the field and Washington, helping activists connect effectively with lawmakers to influence policy and advising potential first-time candidates. She has lobbied for conservative groups such as Americans for Fair Taxation in the past, but she is not registered as a lobbyist for the TheTeaParty.net.
“There are a lot of questions about Washington,” she said in an interview with Roll Call. “How do we stay active? What issues need attention? That takes someone like me who understands Washington.”
But it’s not clear what TheTeaParty.net is active in. Despite its extensive website and an impressive ability to pull in money,
TheTeaParty.net appears to do little more than promote its own name.
Unlike several large tea party organizations, whose leaders frequently discuss specific goals and agenda items with journalists, TheTeaParty.net acts quietly as an online meeting place and resource for hundreds of other tea party groups. Cefaratti, the man behind the group, rarely, if ever, speaks to the press and did not return numerous phone calls to his home or office. The group’s spokeswoman said he was too busy for an interview.
“We are not a normal tea party group that has meetings and things like that,” spokeswoman Vicki Dooling said. “We are a gatherer of other tea partyers.”
Cefaratti, who splits his time between his marketing consulting business and a second company that specializes in connecting loan officers with seniors interested in reverse mortgages, set up TheTeaParty.net last year as the tea party movement started to galvanize voters and dollars around “outsider” Republican candidates.
At the same time, he established a political action committee, called Stop This Insanity, which raised nearly $500,000 in the months leading up to the 2010 midterm elections. From March to October 2010, the committee spent just less than half that. Nearly all of its expenditures went to advertising services, airfare, lodging and promotional paraphernalia such as buttons and T-shirts, according to federal records.
The group has left very little trail since it was founded last spring, organizing few, if any, events. Federal records show no donations to candidates in the last election cycle....
TheTeaParty.net was also one of several organizations that sponsored the 2010 Conservative Political Action Conference, (CPAC) the high-profile confab held every year in Washington. That is where Cefaratti met Keene, whose husband is the former president of the American Conservative Union, which sponsors the conference....
It appears that the organization also makes money off its mailing list. Emails obtained by Roll Call reveal that the group has rented its 200,000-person mailing list to companies such as Gold Rarities Gallery, an online gold and silver warehouse.
An advertising representative at Newsmax said he helps TheTeaParty.net find clients and confirmed that the list is available for $7,000 ($35 for every thousand names). Dooling said no personal information is released to third parties during the process.
Questions about the legitimacy of TheTeaParty.net — also known as JoinTheTeaParty.us — are rife throughout the blogosphere and among the leaders of other tea party groups.
Some top conservatives have never even heard of the group, and other tea party leaders have only a vague understanding of what the group is and what it does."...
Everyone knows Establishment groups ACU and CPAC scorn and laugh at the real Tea Party. Norquist is a CPAC board member:
4/14/11,"ACU’s Cardenas Questions Tea Party’s Grasp Of Principles," RedState.com, Tom in Florida
2/14/11, "Rush: 'Tea party was under assault at CPAC'," World Net Daily, Drew Zahn
2/11/12, "The American Conservative Union: neutralizing the conservative movement," Jim Lampe, RedState.com
Yet this alleged TP group even sponsors a CPAC cruise with Norquist among featured passengers:
7/27/11, "ACU and TheTeaParty.net Announce Two New Speakers for CPAC Alaskan Cruise"
OpenSecrets.org FEC records show this self-proclaimed TP group took in over $1 million and gave almost none of it to federal Tea Party candidates in 2012:
"TheTeaParty.net Leadership Fund"
2012 Total Receipts: $1,021,463
Total spent: $795,347
Contributions to federal candidates: $52,000
Electioneering, communication expenses, by targeted candidate: $182,673
Signed by Treasurer Ron Dove 5/2/12 (Ron Dove is also Treasurer of TheTeaParty.net)
"Official PAC name: THE TEA PARTY LEADERSHIP FUND
Location: WASHINGTON, DC 20003
Treasurer: BACKER, DAN MR. ESQ.
FEC Committee ID: C00520825
(Look up actual documents filed at the FEC) "
"THE TEA PARTY LEADERSHIP FUND
209 PENNSYLVANIA AVENUE SE
WASHINGTON, DC 20003"
From TheTeaParty.net regular website:
"TheTeaParty.net is a division of Stop This Insanity Inc. and is a national non-profit 501(c)(4) organization created in 2009 for the education and advancement of the constitutional conservative values of the Tea Party movement.
6. "TheTeaParty.net is a major sponsor of the CPAC convention every year in Washington D.C. This sponsorship enables us to connect the Tea Party movement with our conservative legislators in Washington."...
Continuing from their website:
8. "We have a full-time Washington D.C. representative with the connections and relationships there."...
[This representative is Donna Wiesner Keene, wife of lobbyist and former CPAC president David Keene (now Pres. of NRA).]
9. TTP.net's website says it gives to "ACU and CPAC"
ACU and CPAC are dedicated to eliminating the TP and conservatives.
Again from TTP.net website:
16. "TheTeaParty.net employs two "Freedom Lobbyists" who work with the Tea Party Caucus in Congress to pass legislation in line with the core values of the Tea Party movement."...
On 1/4/13 TheTeaParty.net trumpets hiring 3 new lobbyists as the "first ever" but the group has previously had two paid "Freedom Lobbyists" working with congress on supposed TP issues, per item #16 above from their website. Following is the 1/4/13 press release:
1/4/13, "TEA PARTY ESTABLISHES CONGRESSIONAL ADVOCACY TEAM"
"Grassroots group forms first ever Tea Party advocacy group, including former Congressman J.D. Hayworth, conservative activists Niger Innis and Bob Adams, to push for smaller government on Capitol Hill"
Washington D.C. - "The nation’s largest Tea Party group announced today the creation of its new advocacy arm — the first of its kind. With over 600,000 members and over 1.3 million supporters on Facebook, TheTeaParty.Net has been a leading opponent of any legislation that increases taxes or raises the debt, including this week’s deal on the fiscal cliff....
"TheTeaParty.net is a national non-profit 501(c)(4) organization created in 2009 for the education and advancement of the constitutional conservative values of the Tea Party movement."
Norquist is a CPAC board member
2/14/11, "Rush: 'Tea party was under assault at CPAC'," World Net Daily, Drew Zahn
"Talk-radio host Rush Limbaugh, himself considered a conservative icon, blasted this year’s Conservative Political Action Conference for drowning out tea partiers and those concerned with social issues, lamenting, “That’s not the CPAC that I’ve always thought of or known.”
Saying he was concerned that “I might just drum myself out of a movement,” Limbaugh blamed the “ruling class” at CPAC for missing the message of the 2010 election, namely that there is “an
unmistakable conservative ascendancy happening in this country,”
evidenced most prominently in the tea-party movement.
“But at CPAC, you didn’t get the impression here that there was a conservative ascendancy going on.
You had a lot of people saying, ‘We gotta do something about that faction,’” Limbaugh said on his program today. “The tea party was under assault in its own way at CPAC. And you in the tea party understand full well
the ruling class is not happy with you.
And it was clearly obvious.”...
"Does the left ever hold a convention and say, ‘You know what, we gotta get rid of the Huffington Post people,’ or ‘We gotta deemphasize the Daily Kos?’ Does the left ever do anything it does to appeal to its enemies?”"...
The NY Times says the Tea Party "nearly captured control of the Republican Party:"
12/26/12, "Clout Diminished, Tea Party Turns to Narrower Issues," NY Times, Trip Gabriel
"The Tea Party might not be over, but it is increasingly clear that the election last month significantly weakened the once-surging movement, which nearly captured control of the Republican Party through a potent combination of populism and fury."...
More on GOP co-opting TP, early tea party activist who mailed tea bags to congress and pres. says tea party movement has been hijacked by GOP. GOP 'has stolen anger of a population' fed up with GOP theft of their tax money, funneling it to Wall St. and electing cronies:
10/20/10, "To The Tea Party: Go Screw Yourself," market-ticker.org
(Video of Karl Denninger MSNBC interview with Dylan Ratigan previous night)....
"Why I and others led people to mail tea bags to Congress and our President in the first place: rampant theft of over taxpayer money propping up FAILED private businesses.
"Tea Party my ass. This was nothing other than
The Republican Party stealing the anger of a population that was fed up with
The Republican Party's own theft of their tax money at gunpoint to bail out the robbers of Wall Street
and fraudulently redirecting it back toward electing the very people who stole all the ****ing money! ...
The Tea Party was and is about the the corruption of American Politics and the blatant and outrageous theft from all Americans that has resulted. It is about personal responsibility and enforcement of the law against those who have robbed, financially raped and pillaged the nation.
Yet today we hear literally nothing about these issues among the so-called "Tea Party" candidates and their backers."...
8/14/11, Todd Cefaratti says TheTeaParty.net used to be a PAC but isn't anymore. Apparently changed their minds by 2012.