Tucson Progressive

Pamela Powers Hannley, a progressive voice for Arizona

Tea Partiers: Show Us the Money

Thanks to the original Boston Tea Party in 1773–when revolutionary patriots dumped English tea into the Boston Harbor rather than pay the tax– the US became a country of coffee drinkers. “Taxation without representation,” was the battle cry to rally the colonialists against the English monarchy. Civil unrest continued for two years after the Tea Party until the Revolutionary War began in 1775.

What will come of the current Tea Party movement, which started as a corporate media-inspired publicity stunt on Tax Day 2009?

Whether they realize the historical significance of the original anti-tax Tea Party movement, a smattering of disgruntled voters across the country identify with the idea that they are being taxed, but the government does not represent them. On some level I agree that what is best for the American people is often lost once lobbyists get involved in legislation. I believe that our state and federal governments are controlled by multi-national corporations–not the people– and that this trend toward corporatism could get worse, thanks to the Supreme Court’s recent ruling.

We all know that campaigns are run with money. How is the Tea Party funded? According to National Public Radio, the national Tea Party is setting up a fund raising structure. The party is forming the Ensuring Liberty Corp., a tax-exempt 501(c)(4) and the Ensuring Liberty Political Action Committee.

Ironically, Tea Party organizer Mark Sokda told the attendees at the recent Tea Party convention that the fundraising would be totally transparent, but according to NPR, 501(c)(4) organizations like the Ensuring Liberty Corp. “can raise as much money as it can get– no limits– from wealthy donors and from corporations. And there’s no disclosure.”

This does not sound transparent; it sounds ominous. Multi-national corporations have a history of funding conservative organizations with warm-and-fuzzy names like Americans for Prosperity and FreedomWorks. Will the Tea Party become a mechanism for corporations to further control government? After all, the Tea Party’s original event was heavily promoted by the country’s most conservative corporate media outlet.

On the local level, the Tucson Tea Party’s very sophisticated website rails against the Democratic-controlled City Council on the main page, but the “about” page focuses on anger over the corporate bailouts and gives no information about their funding.

Ironically, the big corporations that received these bailouts may be secretly funding the “grassroots” Tea Party movement in the future.

This article originally appeared in my Progressive Examiner column.


This entry was posted on February 23, 2010 by in Arizona, campaign financing, economy, jobs, organizing, Tea Party, Tucson.

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The Tucson Progressive: Pamela Powers Hannley

I stand on the side of Love. I believe in kindness to all creatures on Earth and the inherent self-worth of all individuals--not just people who agree with me or look like me.

Widespread economic and social injustice prompted me to become a candidate for the Arizona House, representing Legislative District 9 in the 2016 election. My platform focuses on economic reforms to grow Arizona's economy, establish a state-based public bank, fix our infrastructure, fully fund public education, growlocal small businesses and community banks, and put people back to work at good-paying jobs. I also stand for equal rights, choice, and paycheck fairness for women. I am running as a progressive and running clean.

My day job is managing editor for the American Journal of Medicine, an academic medicine journal with a worldwide circulation. In addition, my husband and I co-direct Arizonans for a New Economy, Arizona's public banking initiative. I am a member of the national board of the Public Banking Institute, and I am co-chair of the Arizona Democratic Progressive Caucus, the largest caucus of the Arizona Democratic Party.

I am a published author, photographer, videographer, clay artist, mother, nana, and wife. I have a bachelor's degree in journalism from Ohio State University and a masters in public health from the University of Arizona. I grew up in Amherst, Ohio, but I have lived in Tucson, Arizona since 1981. I am a proud member of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Tucson and the Public Relations Society of America.

My Tucson Progressive blog and Facebook page feature large doses of liberal ideas, local, state, and national politics, and random bits of humor. I also blog at Blog for Arizona and the Huffington Post.

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