Thursday, November 4, 2010

More Potential 501(c)(4) Violations By Tea Party

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.


  1. Interesting. At what point is it appropriate for someone to sue the IRS to force them to enforce the law? I know that is done with the EPA.

  2. well, perhaps the progressives should picket the IRS against the tea party.. tax the rich bastards!

  3. I would like to speak to an attorney. This should be investigated and potentially prosecuted.

  4. Wow - you blew the lid off Stickergate - I am sure that a judge would expect the STLTPC to have staff run around with a jar of peanut butter to remove these stickers lest they violate their status.


  5. You should send this to one of the local tv stations (probably channel 4). I work in the regional media here and, although station's like the income from political commercials, news departments love controversial, timely "investigative" stories that can bring ratings. And, there is a continuing story here beyond the carefully worded billboard.