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Corporate Lobbyists Raising Money For Tea Parties

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Teabaggers are having a hard time coming to terms with the fact that "grassroots" demonstrations aren’t  orchestrated by corporate lobbyists. Understandable — if you didn’t have any experience organizing a demonstration that didn’t have millions in free PR from Fox News and well-funded GOP fat cats providing a national infrastructure, you wouldn’t know the difference.

They seem to be particularly upset about links I sent out yesterday on Twitter (using the teaparty hashtags #tcot and #teaparty) regarding a report by Lee Fang at Think Progress documenting the involvement of corporate lobbyists FreedomWorks in organizing the teabaggers. FreedomWorks is run by ladies’ man (and registered lobbyist) Dick Armey, and if they’re not "organizing" the Tea parties, it’s news to them.

From the FreedomWorks website:

With your help, we have been able to organize hundreds of Taxpayer Tea Parties across the country, from Santa Barbara, California to Amarillo, Texas, and all the way to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

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If you are not able to organize or attend a Taxpayer Tea Party, you can still help the cause by donating or buying a t-shirt. You can also spread the word via email, facebook and word of mouth. If you would like to post updates on tea parties in your state, or if you’d like to get in touch with other people planning tea parties, visit our Tea Party HQ. We have created an interactive Google map that you can use to locate a tea party near you!

The "donation" for the Tea Parties page goes to — you guessed it — the FreedomWorks Foundation. The "thank you" lettter is signed by Matt Kibbe, President & CEO, who cut his teeth working for Lee Atwater. He was behind the attempt to get Ralph Nader put on the ballot in Oregon in 2004, prompting a complaint to the FEC of illegal collusion with the GOP.

FreedomWorks was launched a GOP version of MoveOn. "We believe that hard work beats daddy’s money," said Dick Armey at the time. Armey seems to be a bit irony challenged — Steve Forbes is on the FreedomWorks board. As Krugman notes, their money comes from the Koch, Scaife, Bradley, Olin and other reliable funders of right wing infrastructure including Exxon Mobil.

I don’t know which is sadder — the fact that the Teabaggers don’t understand that it would be impossible for them to do what they’re doing without this kind of infrastructure behind them, or the fact that they’re being manipulated by the very people they appear to be raging against who are only looking to channel their anger for their own purposes.

Whatever. Glenn Reynolds seems to have blown a gasket over the whole thing today, and that’s always a good thing.

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Jane Hamsher

Jane Hamsher

Jane is the founder of Firedoglake.com. Her work has also appeared on the Huffington Post, Alternet and The American Prospect. She’s the author of the best selling book Killer Instinct and has produced such films Natural Born Killers and Permanent Midnight. She lives in Washington DC.
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