Sunday, November 14, 2010

Tea Party Claims They Were Funded By "A Contribution Box in the Office"

The St. Louis tea party spent a fair amount of money working on the last election. A few examples:
  • They paid rent and utilities for an office for at least three months for an office.
  • They paid for a billboard in the southern part of Missouri's 3rd congressional district.
  • They ran extensive facebook advertisements.
  • They ran google advertisements and other ads that linked to endorsements of Ed Martin.
  • They appeared to have several paid employees managing the office and get out the vote efforts.
  • They produced a lot of political schwag, such as the stickers they placed on Taxpayers for Ed Martin yard signs.
  • All of these combined, of course, cost a fair amount of money. And given that in previous campaigns they were not even able to raise $1,000 from their membership, despite repeated requests from Hennessy, Durbin, and Hoft, I was left wondering just where they got their income for these elections. In a recent St. Louis Beacon article, Jo Mannies apparently asked that question, and here's what she got in response:
    Ennenbach said the St. Louis Tea Party's operations this fall, such as rent, were funded by contributions. "We have a contribution box in the office," she said.
    Hmmm, really? A "contribution box" is supposed to explain their donations? I for one find it extremely implausible that they were previously terrible at raising money for campaigns but then magically raised multiple thousands of dollars from people dropping cash in a box in their office. Given their apparent violations of their 501(c)4 status, and their longstanding support of GOP insiders like Roy Blunt and Ed Martin, I hope someone can get to the bottom of just where these donations were coming from.

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