As I've documented, the St. Louis tea party has put out multiple web advertisements that take people directly to a site that expresses their endorsement of Ed Martin, the Republican loser in a contest with Congressman Russ Carnahan over Missouri's Third District seat. However, 501(c)(4) organizations, while allowed to endorse political candidates, are not supposed to communicate their endorsements to the public. The St. Louis Tea Party has claimed that they are a 501(c)(4) organization, and for this reason have not been required to publicly disclose their donor list (which would be very interesting indeed, especially considering that they appear to have spent a good deal of money on November's election while only able to raise $1,000 from local sources in past campaigns).
In addition to the web advertisements, it now looks as though there are other instances of the tea party clearly intending to communicate their endorsement to the public, in violation of their 501(c)(4) status. You may have noticed a whole bunch of signs reading "Taxpayers for Ed Martin" in the video from the St. Louis tea party's Rally To Restore Insanity yesterday:
On the lower left hand side of these signs, you can see a small sticker. It's hard to see in the picture above, but fortunately my friend Brian Matthews got a nice close-up of the same sign the day of the election:
And even closer:
As you can see, the signs were paid for by American Majority. However, they also have a sticker that clearly reads "St. Louis Tea Party Coalition." So while the funding of the signs is not an issue, this once again is clearly intended to communicate the public that the St. Louis Tea Party endorsed Ed Martin. And it was on yard signs on election day. In other words, once again, it appears that the St. Louis Tea Party is in violation of their 501(c)(4) status.
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