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Lawrence O'Donnell's Rewrite segment on Monday night highlighted a tea party ad running to raise money to primary the 87 Republicans who voted to reopen the government and raise the debt ceiling earlier this month. In classic Tea Party fashion, it lists all 87 as traitors and directs viewers to go to StopTheTraitors.com and donate to their effort to primary them all.
The group behind the ad is TeaParty.net, or the Tea Party Leadership Fund. Todd Cefaratti is a Republican fundraiser in Arizona. TruthOut:
"Instead, a significant amount of the funds, $189,759, went to online marketing.
Formally, TheTeaParty.net is a project of Stop This Insanity, Inc., which they now claim is a 501(c) 4 non-profit organization. The "Stop" corporation was registered as an Arizona non-profit on February 25, 2010. Its DBA "The Tea Party," however, wasn't registered until December 20, 2012, according to the Arizona Secretary of State Charitable Organizations System.
"It 'solicits funds in order to provide every ameridcan[sic] with access to the technology & means to be engaged & civically responsilble[sic] citizens & to empower individuals to take action in their communities to restore our founding principles of individual liberty, limited government & free markets,' according to their filing with the state.
"To bolster its organizational identity, TheTeaParty.net sponsored a truck in the NASCAR Truck Racing Series. They were the main sponsor of a Tea Party 'Unity Rally' in Tampa during the Republican National Convention in 2012. It also registered as a sponsor for the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) last year. This year they paid the $50,000 fee to be listed as a "partner" at the CPAC 2013 event next month.
"TheTeaParty.net developed a reputation for the large number of emails it sent to Tea Partiers who never signed up for their lists, causing them to publicly wonder who this 'net' organization really was. In March 2012, the organization hired Judson Phillips [the founder of Tea Party Nation] as an associate director, a move regarded by some analysts as an attempt to quell the grumbling."
As of February of this year, it wasn't clear if Phillips still works for TheTeaParty.net.
Yeah, that Judson Phillips. The guy who heads the only Tea Party group listed as a hate group by the SPLC.
Todd Cefaratti is great at stirring people up until they're so angry they're willing to open their wallets and let the money flow. He then spends that money on more ads to raise more money. Most candidates never see a dime.
The treasurer of that organization is attorney Dan Backer, who operates with a goal of destroying what few campaign finance laws still remain on the books. Backer has filed requests with the FEC to allow donations via BitCoin, to conceal donors' names from reports under the same rule that protected the NAACP in the Jim Crow South, and was the originator of the recent case heard by the United States Supreme Court involving South Carolina donor Shaun McCutcheon which seeks to destroy individual limits on campaign contributions.
In their most recent FEC report for June, 2013, a total of $12,000 was given to candidates running for the House of Representatives. TeaParty.net also gave $40,000 to a group which gave Ted Cruz, Mitch McConnell, Mike Lee and John Cornyn $13,800 each for their Senate campaigns.
So much for the candidates. The rest of the nearly $1.4 million spent in the first half of this year went to pay consultants like Michael Lyons, Virginia field director of the Koch-powered Generation Opportunity outfit, Cefaratti, and various Republican fundraising outfits like Infocision and the Donatelli cartel of fundraisers.
Nice work if you can get it. This is just another one of those campaigns. The message feeds the base, and the base feeds the right-wing money machine.
As Lawrence said at the end of the piece, "Republicanworld has become a game of the liars versus the traitors. And boy do they deserve each other."
Couldn't have said it better myself.