In addition to Beck, at least four other hosts have entered into advertising arrangements of various sorts with tea party groups aiming to upend the 2014 primaries:
- Sean Hannity: Heritage began sponsoring Hannity in 2008 and paid $1.3 million in 2011 to a broker to arrange and fund the deal, according to the group’s IRS filings. Last year, Hannity began doing ads for the Tea Party Patriots, lending his name to fundraising drives, hosting its leaders on his radio and Fox News shows, and even using the Fox airwaves to promote the Tea Party Patriots website HannityforSanity.com.
- Mark Levin: The Koch brothers-backed Americans for Prosperity paid at least $757,000 primarily to sponsor his radio show — a sponsorship that covered part of the 2012 cycle, when he joined David Koch and AFP president Tim Phillips in boosting Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch. After AFP ended its sponsorship, Levin began doing ads for the Tea Party Patriots, touting its campaign to “fire” House Speaker John Boehner. He also apologized for endorsing Hatch, whom some Tea Party Patriots’ leaders opposed.•
- Rush Limbaugh: The Heritage Foundation at the end of January ended its five-year sponsorship of El Rushbo’s show, for which it had paid more than $2 million in some years and more than $9.5 million overall. In 2012, FreedomWorks paid at least $1.4 million to make him an endorser, though it’s not clear that the sponsorship is ongoing.
- Rusty Humphries: While Humphries lost his long-running radio show late last year, here-emerged last month as a video show host and blogger at The Washington Times and hooked up with a PAC called the Tea Party Leadership Fund. “I got involved when they asked me,” he said of the group, which has paid him $15,500 over the past few months to serve as spokesman for a campaign to support Boehner’s long-shot primary challenger, a local high school teacher. The effort included a February fundraising email declaring “with your support behind him, he cannot loose [sic].”
I'm not sure if this is a good or bad sign. On one hand, it reflects the reluctance of corporate sponsors to back these people with their sponsor dollars. On the other, there seem to be enough billionaires to keep the welfare dollars flowing freely to them while they spew their nonsense to Americans dumb enough to believe them.