As a regular tea party attendee, I follow the Tea Party Patriots grassroots group and am a member. I received an email that I want to share because I feel it is important to our movement that the following statements from Tea Party Patriots gets broad viewing. It is important for groups to distance themselves and criticize publically fellow groups that damage the work we are doing to refound our Republic. Recently, the Tea Party Express made its way across America and was covered in the media via embedded reporters from CNN and FOX News and the like. Apparently, the leadership of the group that sponsored the Tea Party Express are more about promoting themselves and funding Republicans. Protestors like myself do not endorse either party and are tired of our two party system and fed up with the government in general. To find out that this group is so in bed with the Republicans is dis-heartening. So Tea Party Patriots has delivered the following statement, which I support completely:
Tea Party Patriots wishes to confirm that it does not directly or indirectly support or endorse any activities of Our Country Deserves Better, the political action committee (PAC) responsible for the ‘Tea Party Express’ bus tour conducted from 8/28 through 9/12 of this year, and an upcoming tour recently announced.
The Vice Chairman of OCDB and spokesman for the Tea Party Express, Mark Williams, has described President Obama as an “Indonesian Muslim turned welfare thug,” and the “Racist in Chief“, phrases he defended recently in an interview on CNN. Tea Party Patriots disagrees strongly with President Obama on many issues, but we believe such statements are inappropriate and harmful to the healthy debate our country demands on challenging issues. Furthermore, Williams’ antics play into the hands of mainstream media attempts to paint the Tea Party movement as a racist, radical fringe as opposed to the genuine grassroots movement representing all walks of American life that it truly is. In addition, in June, at a Tea Party Patriots event in Sacramento, Williams was requested to stop his verbal criticism of local law enforcement officers who were trying to stop him from interfering with other lawfully assembled citizens. Among other things, Williams used his megaphone to warn those present that they needed to move away from the officers by shouting through his megaphone, “Trust me, I grew up in Boston, you don’t want a cop on horseback swinging at your head.” People on the scene objected to his behavior, and in fact, law enforcement officers on the scene were polite and respectful, and were merely trying to get Mr. Williams to respect the rights of other individuals who had lawful permits. Full video of the incident is available on request. Subsequent to the event, Williams issued a written apology for his outrageous behavior towards law enforcement officers (again, available on request). Again, this type of behavior is precisely the brush with which our opposition wishes to paint us, and we believe it is important to decisively separate ourselves from people who behave in this way.
Furthermore, Williams directly attacked the genuine heart and soul of the tea party movement on, of all days, the morning of September 12th. While patriots from around the country were gathering in Washington, Williams posted a vitriolic blog entry about the August 28th Sacramento Tea Party event (where the Tea Party Express started its tour) in which he declared that he “can now report that at the Sac828 ‘Tea Party’ event was anything but”, describing it as “a rally representing tax-subsidized agricultural and industrial interests” whose speakers were “lobbyists and other representatives of big business.” On the contrary, the organizers and speakers at the Sacramento event represented a tremendous grassroots effort on the part of hardworking local organizers from across California fighting the worst aspects of big government gone wild. Williams further bragged in an email to TPP leadership that “The national media embedded with me has been waiting for me to publish this story [with a link to his blog post] so that they can run with it.” On the day when our fellow patriots were gathering in and focusing all eyes on the amazing event in Washington, Mark Williams was apparently focused on promoting divisive and false accusations about the Tea Party movement to the mainstream media.
Finally, Our Country Deserves Better is a PAC. And while we have no problems with PACs, and they definitely have their place in the political system today, they fulfill a very different role than the tea parties. If you take the time to review OCDB’s FEC filings, you will find pages and pages of expenditures for Republican candidates and against Democrat candidates. Equally important, the political knowledge, muscle and primary operations of the PAC appear to come from a political consulting firm in Sacramento called Russo Marsh & Rogers. A review of the RMR website shows that they are long time Republican political consultants. As of this writing, their website appears to indicate that their electoral work across the country has been on behalf of Republican candidates whom they are paid to represent, and has been for many years. And if one looks at the FEC filings, it appears that the largest portion of the money raised by OCDB gets paid directly to Russo Marsh & Rogers. Please look at the filings for yourselves and make your own determination.
While there is nothing improper about this type of partisanship, it is our belief that this is not what the tea parties are about. Tea Party Patriots has worked very hard to be issue oriented regardless of political party affiliation. We support our core values: fiscal responsibility, Constitutionally limited government, and free markets over any political party. In order to remain non-partisan, we must separate ourselves from organizations that are partisan and are attempting to raise money using the non-partisan tea party movement.
Because of Williams’ actions and his leadership role in OCDB and the Tea Party Express, and because of the partisan fundraising nature of OCDB and the Tea Party Express, the Tea Party Patriots cannot and will not support OCDB and in particular urges all local tea party activists not to participate in or support OCDB’s second national Tea Party Express bus tour. We firmly believe that the fight for limited government and the Tea Party movement has room for many groups of all types, and we effectively work with many of them. But it has no room for those who attack grassroots organizers, use the tea party movement for partisan political fund raising, or who go out of their way to make offensive statements that serve only to drive people away from our cause.
Tea Party Patriots, Inc.
Note: Williams un-published his 9/12 blog post several days after posting it, and so the link no longer works. He has never apologized or retracted his statements, however; the full text of his post can be provided upon request.