Tea Party Donations Balloon by Tens of Millions
The tea party movement may have started as small fry. But it’s pulling in the big bucks now, Politico
reports. Five of the biggest conservative groups that connected themselves to tea partyers have particularly benefited, according to official records analyzed by the news service.
Americans for Prosperity, FreedomWorks, Club for Growth, Leadership Institute, and Tea Party Express attracted $79 million last year. That represents a 61 percent increase from 2009, when the tea party movement really began to percolate.
The two biggest groups — Americans for Prosperity and FreedomWorks — told Politico they plan to raise and spend a hefty $156 million this year and next combined. But not everyone in the tea party movement is happy about this.
Some worry that the cause is being taken over by a big, bureaucratic structure that won’t have much impact locally – just the kind of organizations that tea partyers have opposed.
“There isn’t an unlimited pool of cash in the conservative movement, and my concern is that some of these big national groups are sucking up money that could otherwise go to the local tea party leaders who are the ones really making things happen on the ground,” said Ned Ryun, president of American Majority, a Washington area non-profit group that helps local tea party leaders set up groups.
Some local tea party organizations told Politico that national groups have asked for their member lists to send fundraising appeals.