(Carl Bearden speaking at the town hall meeting he set up with Senator McCaskill's staff)
The Post-Dispatch wrote an excellent editorial last week documenting the astroturf activities of Carl Bearden, the former director of Missouri's Americans for Prosperity and someone who played a crucial role in starting the St. Louis tea party. Bearden organized a rally outside of Senator McCaskill's office where the tea party falsely claimed that someone from McCaskill's office "gave them the finger" (in fact, it was someone from an adjoining office who was upset that the tea party was banging on their windows). McCaskill, in typical weak-kneed Democrat fashion, apologized anyway and agreed with Bearden to hold a meeting that was covered by Fox News and largely kicked off the tea party's summer of angry, obnoxious, town halls. So Bearden played a crucial role in a pivotal "birthing" moment for the St. Louis tea party, and likely played a big role in turnout efforts for their other events. He also organized some of the original tea party events in other parts of Missouri.
Americans for Prosperity is funded by the billionaire right-wing idealogue David Koch. Koch has denied being involved, saying at one point, ""I've never been to a tea-party event. No one representing the tea party has ever even approached me." And later:
In addition, no funding has been provided by Koch companies, the Koch foundations, Charles Koch or David Koch specifically to support the tea parties.However, a new video released today from the documentary Astroturf Wars, in the words of Huffington Post columnist Kevin Grandia, shows Americans for Prosperity employees reporting back to David Koch about the tea parties at their annual meeting. Carl Bearden is in the video. At the 1:50 mark, you can see Bearden saying, "keep your hands off my healthcare:"
This "movement" was started for one reason and one reason only: to promote the interests of an exclusive group of the wealthiest Americans. The ideologues in charge already get more breaks and take advantage of more loopholes than everyone else, but they're still not satisfied.
h/t Brian Matthews for the link.