Jo Mannies had an article that asked the tea party about potential violations of their 501(c)(4) status.
Evans and Ennenbach dismiss the assertions of some Democrats and progressive bloggers that the St. Louis Tea Party ran afoul of its tax-exempt status by endorsing Martin. The St. Louis Tea Party is a 501C4, meaning that politics can't be its primary activity, and that endorsements can't be communicated to the general public.Of course, the billboard itself is not what's at issue. What is at issue is the tea party's running of multiple online ads that link directly to endorsements of Ed Martin. First, there was a "Who Deserves to Serve" advertisement on Reboot Congress that clearly stated "Paid for by the St. Louis Tea Party Coalition." Clicking on that ad takes readers directly to a page on the St. Louis Tea Party website that says that "Ed Martin deserves to serve instead of Russ Carnahan," and says that Ed Martin "deserves your vote." This was documented with both screen shots and a shot of the html that shows the direct link. The St. Louis Tea Party also ran a google ad that said "Paid For by the St. Louis Tea Party Coalition" that linked directly to a page featuring a video from Bill Hennessy where Hennessy say:
Both say the St. Louis Tea Party was careful not to run ads in favor of Martin, and defend a billboard that featured pictures of Martin and Carnahan and the question, ""Who deserves to serve?"
I'm going to ask you to take one hour, just one hour, Monday or Tuesday, to come to the St. Louis Tea Party Headquarters at 4512 Hampton Avenue in St. Louis Hills, just south of Hampton Village, and give one hour to phone calls or knocking on doors asking your friends and neighbors, your fellow citizens to go to the polls on Tuesday and vote for Ed Martin and the tea party candidates across the ballot.The St. Louis tea party also had their name on Taxpayers for Ed Martin yard signs.
So once again, we have reporters providing free publicity to the tea party without bothering to dig into questions or forcing them to actually respond to specifics. And while Mannies makes a vague reference to "progressive bloggers," she won't even provide a link that would allow readers to evaluate the evidence themselves. I'm just not sure how the press thinks that this model of journalism actually leaves people adequately informed.