Tea and Antipathy

Who’s cashing in on (and clashing within) the tea party movement.

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Dale Robertson

DALE ROBERTSON, TEAPARTY.ORG: Claiming to be the founder of the tea party movement, he’s bought up domain names like teaparty.org and tried to sell them off. Competing tea partiers have tried to discredit him by circulating a photo of him carrying a racist sign at a rally (right).

Tea Party Express

TEA PARTY EXPRESS: This nationwide bus tour is organized by a political action committee called Our Country Deserves Better; the original idea was cooked up by GOP consulting firm Russo Marsh & Rogers. According to Politico, the Tea Party Express raised more than $2.7 million; of the $4.1 million spent by the PAC, nearly half has gone to Russo Marsh.

Mark Meckler

MARK MECKLER, TEA PARTY PATRIOTS: The former political consultant turned tea party spokesman has come under fire for his ties to the GOP. He once worked for the group that underwrote the anti-Hillary Clinton movie at the center of the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision—which allows unlimited corporate money to flow into the election system so many tea partiers despise.

Judson Phillips

JUDSON PHILLIPS, TEA PARTY NATION: The founder of the for-profit Tea Party Nation borrowed money to pay Sarah Palin $100,000 to headline a $500-plus-per-person Nashville convention in February. Phillips said he’d plow any profits back into the movement, and he has since said the money will help pay for a July confab in Las Vegas.

Sarah Palin

SARAH PALIN: New York magazine estimates that the half-term governor and tea party favorite has made more than $12 million since early 2009. Her Tea Party Nation fee included $18,000 for a private jet for her five-person entourage. She has signed up with Fox News for a reported $1 million a year, and her Sarah PAC has raised $2.5 million.

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LESS DREADING, MORE DOING

This is the rubber-meets-road moment: the early days in our first fundraising drive since we took a big swing and merged with CIR to bring fearless investigative reporting to the internet, radio, video, and everywhere else that people need an antidote to lies and propaganda.

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