Rumble on the Right : Teabagging for Fun and Profit

Teabaggin’ dodo bird. Image from Voice of Arizona.

Trouble in paradise:
Tea-bagger convention is for-profit scam

By Ted McLaughlin / The Rag Blog / January 28, 2010

Even though they’ve had their efforts publicized by Fox News and funded by large right-wing organizations like FreedomWorks, the teabaggers are still not a very organized group of people. They can’t even agree on the best way to proceed now that they’ve made a name for themselves.

Some of them want to start a new teabagger third party. Others want to take over the Republican Party (which they rightly believe is owned by Wall Street). This has already happened in Florida, where establishment party leaders have been ousted and replaced by teabagger leaders.

Then there was word of a teabagger convention to be held in Nashville in February of this year. The organizer of the convention, attorney Judson Phillips, tried to pass off the convention as an effort to unify the teabaggers and provide direction for their future efforts. The fly in the ointment is that he has set his organization, Tea Party Nation, up as a for-profit organization.

In other words, if a profit is made off the convention, he’s under no obligation to use those funds toward future teabagger efforts or campaigns. It would be perfectly legal (and very probable) for Phillips to just put the money in his own bank account, and congratulate himself on a successful money-making venture.

Consider the following. He is selling about 500 tickets to the convention for $560 each (and this does NOT include the cost of hotel rooms). That’s a cool $280,000 right there. And don’t forget that he’s booked Sarah Palin for a speech, and he’s selling tickets to an additional 600 people for several hundred dollars each. That pushes the take up to around half a million dollars. And that doesn’t count the sponsors Phillips has lined up for the event.

He does have to pay for a convention room, but not a very large one — it only has to have room for 500 participants (and he can easily squeeze another 600 in for just one speech). This space probably doesn’t even cost as much as he’s paying Sarah Palin to make her speech. And I imagine details like sound system, security, etc. are probably included in the money he’ll pay for the convention space.

That leaves him with the cost of Sarah Palin. Rumor has it that she will receive $100,000 for her (probably incoherent) speech. Neither Phillips nor Palin will confirm or deny that this is what she’ll be paid, but that in itself confirms the amount. As sensitive as Palin is to bad publicity, I’m sure she would make it known if she was receiving less than that.

I’m betting that Phillips will clear at least $200,000 profit off the convention (probably more). And it looks like some of the teabaggers are finally waking up to the fact that they are being scammed by an unscrupulous lawyer.

Knoxville teabagger Antonio Hinton says, “I don’t begrudge people making money, but that’s not what the tea party is about. That convention has nothing to do with the tea party movement, as far as I’m concerned.” A Nashville-based teabagger called Tea Party Nation “dishonest” and said it is “hijacking the tea party movement.”

Conservative and RedState blogger Erick Erickson thinks it “smells scammy” and says, “I think it is a great con of people making money off the passions of others… A $500+ per person fee to a for-profit organization run by people most people have never heard of is neither populist nor accessible for many tea party activists.”

At least three sponsors have also withdrawn their support after learning the event is a profit-making venture for Phillips. American Majority, a training group for teabagger organizations, withdrew and said, “Who is this guy? What are his motivations? And what gives him the credibility to try to step in and insert himself as a leader of the movement?”

And now it looks like the convention may suffer the greatest insult of all. Some teabagger organizations are saying they may actually picket the convention. Can you imagine teabaggers picketing outside of a teabagger convention?

Most readers of this blog will know that I have very little respect for the teabagger movement, but I also hate to see people being taken advantage of. I’m glad they are finally waking up and realizing that this convention is nothing more than a scam to separate them from their hard-earned money.

[Rag Blog contributor Ted McLaughlin also posts at jobsanger.]

The Rag Blog

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11 Responses to Rumble on the Right : Teabagging for Fun and Profit

  1. Ooohhh. their support for Corporations being allowed to make vast fortunes by charging people huge chunks of their own money for a service they deny to most of their customers… Meaning Health Insurance. One Right Wing radio investment advisor came out with a statistic that 60% of all claims are initially denied, but if you make a big enough deal out of it (years of litigation in which the Corporate Lawyers have the upper hand) you have about a 20% chance of getting your claim upheld.

    That’s a total of around 50% denied. I’ll go out on a limb here and if the Insurance Company Shills (Fox, for instance) who organized and financed the Tea Party want to contest my opinion, they need to prove I’m wrong, that the number edges into “most” territory.

    The Tea Party heartily deny that anything could possibly be wrong with such an arrangement. So it comes back to bite them in Tennessee. Eh.

    Freedom for Corporations to charge money for a service they don’t actually provide, Imagine that if you will.

    They wanted to scream long and loud about it, Corporate “freedom” to make money trumps the rights of the People to survive,

    Let them eat cake.

  2. Todd McCalla says:

    I think Sarah Palin is doing a book signing in Cool Springs before the tea party event. It will be interesting to see how that is received by the area.

  3. Jonah is just lying. No other conclusion can be drawn. I am in a couple of tea party movements in Austin. We have no corporate backers and we dont need any. Most of our time and effort is spent in learning about and being involved in the political activities that interest us. Whenever money is needed, which isnt often, we pay it out of our own pocket. The leaders in these groups are parents and

  4. DHS-
    It's no surprise that you're a teabagger, but don't hide your head in the sand. FreedomWorks has provided money and organizers and Fox News has provided publicity, and I doubt that is anywhere near the end of the corporate support.

  5. One thing that I hear often from Progressives is that because there arent a lot of black people in the tea party groups, we must be a bunch of racists.

    I visted "brother" Jonahs weblink at Not My Tribe and guess what I found? Well well well. A bunch of white people listed as "contributors". Not a single black person made the list and only one woman is listed.(http:

  6. Hey Ted. Fuck You and your teabagger comment. If you think corporate support and media publicity makes an organization somehow illegitimate, then you better include OFA, MoveOn, and the Daily Kos (Jet Blue)

  7. You were the one claiming ZERO corporate dollars, DHS.

  8. And by the way DHS, you really should clean up your language. Cursing and name-calling don't win you any points in a debate.

  9. Hey, I've been treated to the Health Care system as it stands if you're disabled, unemployed and in Texas. As a result thereof, I now have a titanium shank holding my right foot and ankle together.

    That was my first priority once I got SSI and the resulting Medicaid. Socialized Medicine saved my Left Foot. It was 14 years too late for the Right one though.

    One big

  10. The "Brother" part of my name is a Christian informality. We use it in Church a lot. It's incidentally why black PEOPLE use the terms "Brother" and "Sister". Not being black or not being white wouldn't be any part of any consideration I make for standing against Racist Hatred.

    Meditate on this truth with us…

    I'm also multi-"

  11. Brother Jonah says:

    I wonders, yes I does, if any of the Teabagger "leaders" who carry guns to presidential appearances and have Mock-Lynched the President of the United States… all in the name "Liberty"… will extend even a polite squeaky little protest against DHS and the FBI for arresting a Black American the other day, in Colorado, for carrying literature that's far less inflammatory

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