Tea Party group in profit controversy

Jan. 17, 2010 at 5:58 PM
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NASHVILLE, Jan. 17 (UPI) -- Several volunteers in Nashville's Tea Party Nation say they dropped out of next week's National Tea Party convention because they see profiteering.

Tea Party Nation founder Judson Phillips admitted Tea Party Nation had been established as a for-profit company but turned away suggestions of profiteering even though tickets to the National Tea Party convention next week are $549, Nashville's The Tennessean reported Sunday.

"We're running a fairly tight margin. Right now, if everything plays out the way we want it to be, we're going to break even," he said.

Former webmaster Kevin Smith said in a blog his disappointment with Tea Party Nation's for-profit status was one reason for leaving the group. Another was that the movement was allegedly being hijacked by the Republican party.

"What began as cries for true liberty and a public showing of frustration with the big government policies of both Democrats and Republicans has now been co-opted by mainstream Republican demagogues determined to use this as their 2010 election platform."

One of the top sponsor's of Tea Party Nation, American Liberty Alliance, pulled out of the convention after learning those who bought tickets paid for them through a PayPal account set up using an e-mail address of Phillips' wife, the Tennessean said.

"We just didn't think about it," Phillips said.

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