The Tea Party Is Bolstering Itself To Remain Influential and Relevant in 2012
According to an Associated Press news report, the Tea Party movement aims to spend significantly more in their bid to defeat President Barack Obama and take control of the U.S. Senate in 2012 this time around than they did in 2010, when they spent tens of millions of dollars to help sway congressional races.
The groups say they are merely helping a grassroots movement seeking a voice but critics say movement is exploiting individual Americans' anger over economic troubles to promote big business and a partisan political agenda.
The Tea Party movement is essentially building on what groups like Americans for Prosperity (AFP), which is financed by the conservative billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch of oil and gas conglomerate Koch Industries, has been doing since before the Tea Party wave took off in 2009.
"We by years anticipated the Tea Party movement," said (AFP) president Tim Phillips, adding “folks look at that and go, I like the idea that it is long term and real infrastructure. Donors like that."
AFP works with local Tea Party affiliates and has staff in more than 30 states who coordinate with regional Tea Party groups, Phillips said.
The AFP president said AFP spent $40 million on 2010 races and plans to spend more than $100 million for the 2012 races.
The organization spends the funds on a number of activities, including advertising, local bus tours and rallies that support issues that are at the core of the Republican marketing philosophy—cutting spending and curbing government growth.
The Tea Party has proven itself a major player in U.S. politics. Every leading Republican presidential candidate has addressed a Tea Party rally and embraced its platform of limited government and spending.
Much as the Tea Party movement and Republican rail against “big government,” an August Gallup survey found that about a quarter of registered voters called themselves either backers or strong backers of the movement.
Other groups that existed before the Tea Party movement, include the extremely conservative FreedomWorks, led by former House of Representatives Majority Leader Dick Armey and supported by billionaire Steve Forbes, which embraced the Tea Party movement almost as soon as it started.Continued on the next page