A tea party group is $1 million richer thanks to an anonymous donor who wants his money to influence this year's midterm elections.
The nonprofit Tea Party Patriots announced on Tuesday that it had received the donation from a single contributor who wants it divided up and given to local coordinators by Oct. 4 to help mount get out the vote initiatives. The group's spokesman told reporters that recipients of the money must spend it by Nov. 2, but they are barred from using it for ads or fliers that mention a specific candidate.
The donor, organizers said, wished to remain anonymous, Tea Party Patriots leaders Mark Meckler and Jenny Beth Martin provided a couple hints to reporters at the National Press Club Tuesday, telling USA Today that "'He' is a businessman and entrepreneur.'"
"What we're doing is what our 2,800 local groups on the ground have been asking us to do," said Martin of their plan to funnel the donation to area Tea Party groups in order to bolster get out the vote efforts, according to Slate's David Weigel. "We're not taking advantage of a loophole. What we're making sure is that we support the local organizers on the ground."
"People are starting to realize that the tea party represents a powerful get-out-the-vote machine," Matt Kibbe, president of Tea Party organizing group FreedomWorks told the Washington Post. "We've got the most energized voting constituency in the country. This movement has been organizing since before April 2009, and all of that community is energizing and driving public opinion. The establishment is taking us more seriously. There's nothing like turning out votes in an election that matters."
The Washington Post reports:
The new push illustrates the movement's transformation since the primaries from a disorganized coalition of fiscally conservative activists to a measurable political force. But the tea party's rapid growth - along with the influx of cash and political professionals - has led some followers to worry that it risks losing its rebel spirit.