Tuesday, August 19, 2014

I came across this chart...

...yesterday in a piece titled, "Flushing Your Money Down the Tea Party’s Toilet." Money quote:

From the “best of the worst” to the “worst of the worst” – here are the amounts received and then spent on operations (like administrative costs, consultants, fundraising, online expenses, professional fees and travel); here too are the amounts contributed either directly (contributions) or indirectly (independent expenditures) to candidates, for the five organizations.
Also shown are the (paltry) sums spent by each organization on candidates and campaigns; bear in mind the (alleged) focus for these groups in the 2014 cycle is on regaining a GOP senate majority.


Most donor money is spent on raising more donor money, period.

And that's the charitable way of reading it.

Another way to interpret this chart is (my emphasis):

Today’s political grifters are a lot like the grifters of old—lining their pockets with the hard-earned money of working men and women by promising things in return that they know they can’t deliver.

That's the conclusion drawn by Steve LaTourette, a former Republican Congressman. He wrote a  piece in Politico a few weeks ago, "The Grifting Wing vs. The Governing Wing" in which he argued:

Political grifting is a lucrative business. Groups like the Club for Growth, FreedomWorks and the Tea Party Patriots are run by men and women who have made millions by playing on the fears and anger about the dysfunction in Washington. My former House colleague Chris Chocola is pocketing a half-million dollars a year heading the Club for Growth; same for Matt Kibbe heading up FreedomWorks (and I don’t think Kibbe’s salary includes the infamous craft beer bar that FreedomWorks donors ended up paying for). The Tea Party Patriots pay their head, Jenny Beth Martin, almost as much. These people have lined their pockets by promising that if you send them money, they will send men and women to Washington who can “fix it.” Of course, in the ultimate con, the always extreme and often amateurish candidates these groups back either end up losing to Democrats or they come to Washington and actually make the process even more dysfunctional.

The grifting wing of the party promises that you can have ideological purity—that you don’t have to compromise—and, of course, all you have to do is send them money to make it happen.

It reminded me of another article I had read in the last year or so but couldn't get my hands on. (My Google skills seem to be failing me at the moment.) But the gist of it was, when the history books are finally written about the tea party era, they will explain that the movement -- which may have begun innocently enough -- essentially evolved into just another scheme to separate the rubes from their money.

No comments: