CMD superman logo.jpg SourceWatch, a project of the Center for Media and Democracy,

depends on donations from people like you!

Click here to make a tax-deductable contribution.

Tea Party Nation

From SourceWatch
Jump to: navigation, search
This article is a stub. You can help by expanding it.

This article is part of the Center for Media & Democracy's spotlight on front groups and corporate spin.

TeaPartyNationlogo.jpg

Tea Party Nation is a domestic for-profit business entity registered with the Tennessee Department of Agriculture and Commerce, Division of Business Services. The entity's official business name is "Tea Party Nation Corporation." [1] Tea Party Nation's Web site describes the corporation as a group of "people who desire our God given Individual Freedoms which were written out by the Founding Fathers. We believe in Limited Government, Free Speech, the 2nd Amendment, our Military, Secure Borders and our Country!"[2]

The organizer of Tea Party Nation is Judson Phillips, who describes himself as a "small-town lawyer." Phillips is a former assistant district attorney who in 2010 was in private practice. He specializes in driving-under-the-influence and personal-injury cases. A background check of various public records databases shows that in 1999, Phillips filed for Chapter 7 personal bankruptcy, and during the past decade he has had three federal tax liens against him, totaling more than $22,000. He states the tax liens have been paid off. Phillips derides what he describes as non-profits' "begging for money" with fundraising letters and e-mail solicitations. [3]

Convention fees and merchandise

Tea Party Nation is the organizer of the National Tea Party Convention, February 4-6, 2010, in Nashville, Tennessee. At $549, the admission charge to the convention is more than double the cost of similar national political conventions.[4] The sole "Silver Sponsor" of the 2010 convention is TeaPartyEmporium.com, a Web site that sells bejeweled tea bags that are advertised as representative of the Tea Party Movement. TeaPartyEmporium.com says, "in the light of the current climate of a government hell bent on the largest redistribution of wealth in history, we designed a small, delicate piece of jewelry which we hope will galvanize feelings felt by millions of Americans." The jeweled tea bags sell for $89.99 apiece, and are available in tiger eye, bloodstone, mother-of-pearl and onyx. The Web site also sells regular and decaffeinated "Freedom" coffee beans ($12.00/lb), "Freedom" megaphones, coolers, truckers hats and other items. [5]

Controversy over finances

Kevin Smith, a former associate of Judson Phillips who created the Tea Party Nation website for him, alleges that Phillips linked a PayPal account for Tea Party Nation merchandise to his wife’s bank account. Smith has a Web site on which he has posted screen-shots from PayPal that support this allegation.[6]

Groups pulling out of convention

On January 13, 2010, Eric Odom one of the organizers of the American Liberty Alliance (ALA) announced that that the group, which had agreed to co-sponsor the National Tea Party Convention, was withdrawing its support from the Convention in protest over the infrastructure of the Tea Party Nation and the way its finances "are channeled through private bank accounts and Paypal accounts."[7]

On January 25, 2010, the New York Times reported that Philip Glass, the national director of the National Precinct Alliance, announced that "amid growing controversy" around the convention, his organization would no longer participate. Mr. Glass had been scheduled to lead workshops on his group's strategy to take over the Republican party from the bottom by "filling the ranks of local and state parties with grassroots conservatives." Mr. Glass also expressed concerned about the role of groups like Tea Party Express in the convention. Tea Party Express has held rallies across the country and two bus tours, and is associated with FreedomWorks, which is known to have corporate backing. Glass called such groups “Republican National Committee-related groups,” and said, "At best, [their participation] creates the appearance of an R.N.C. [Republican National Committee] hijacking; at worst, it is one."[8]

On January 11, 2010, Erick Erickson, who writes for the conservative RedState.com blog, wrote that he thought the National Tea party convention "smells scammy." Erickson wrote,

charging people $500.00 plus the costs of travel and lodging to go to a "National Tea Party Convention" run by a for-profit group no one has ever heard of sounds as credible as an email from Nigeria promising me a million bucks if I fork over my bank account number.[9]

Related Sourcewatch resources

External resources

Contact

No location or contact information is listed on the Web site. The following information is taken from the Business's state registration form:


Tea Party Nation Corporation
c/o Judson Phillips
101 Dogwood Lane
Franklin, Tennessee 37064 USA

References

  1. Tennessee Department of State Entity detail Filing of "Tea Party Nation Corporation," April 21, 2009
  2. Tea Party Nation Tea Party Nation Main page, Web site accessed January 17, 2009
  3. Domenico Montanaro Tea Partying for Profit MSNBC; January 15, 2010
  4. Domenico Montanaro Tea Partying for Profit MSNBC; January 15, 2010
  5. Tea Party Emporium.com Products Web site, accessed January 17, 2009
  6. Kevin Smith, In Media Res Prove Me Wrong: Tea Party Nation, PayPal accounts, and a shady financial past, Blog. January 17, 2010
  7. Eric Odom Our decision to sit out of the Tea Party Convention, American Liberty Alliance, January 13, 2010
  8. Kate Zernike Tea Party Disputes Take Toll on Convention, New York Times, January 25, 2010
  9. Erick Erickson I’m Afraid Sarah Palin Might Be Ruining Herself Unintentionally, Redstate.com, blog, January 11, 2010