Remember the Tea Party? It’s Still Raising Millions in Dark Money.

Here are four of their nonprofits.

Tea Party Patriots National Coordinator Jenny Beth MartinChip Somodevilla/Getty

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Under Jenny Beth Martin’s direction, Tea Party Patriots has sprawled into a dark-money network where millions of dollars in often anonymous donations slosh around with little transparency.

Tea Party Patriots Action

Founded 2017

In 2019, this nonprofit brought in $3.6 million and paid Martin $246,144 for 25 hours of work per week. It reported to the IRS that it paid for Martin to fly first class because she had to “be able to work on the flights.” Its expenses included a “tenth anniversary event,” even though the organization didn’t exist before 2017. In 2018, its biggest expenditure was a $530,000 donation to the TPP Citizens Fund. The following year, the fund gave it $86,400 for “staffing services,” plus $100,000 to rent its mailing list, and $46,000 in donations.

Tea Party Patriots Citizens Fund

Founded 2012

Martin is the chair of this super-pac, which spent nearly $1 million supporting Trump in 2016 and at least $1.2 million backing him in 2020. Its biggest donor in 2020 was Schlitz beer heir and shipping-supply magnate Richard Uihlein. TPP Action was its second-largest contributor, donating more than 10 percent of the $2.5 million it raised.

Tea Party Patriots Foundation

Founded 2010

For much of its 10-year existence, this foundation dedicated to educating the public about fiscal responsibility seems to have spent most of its contributions paying off more than $600,000 of debt from a 2011 conference. Yet in 2019 its annual revenue jumped from about $122,000 to more than $1 million. Its biggest contributors include DonorsTrust, an organization that shields conservative benefactors from disclosure. The foundation has paid both the TPP Citizens Fund and TPP, Inc. for fundraising and other work, according to tax filings.

Tea Party Patriots, Inc.

Founded 2009

Between 2011 and 2012, this nonprofit took in nearly $40 million, and Martin’s salary jumped to almost $300,000. In 2017, it claimed 10,000 volunteers and reported paying Martin $241,500 a year. Yet in 2018, it reported negative revenues and her salary zeroed out.

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THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

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