Co-sponsor bails on Tea Party Convention, cites financing ‘controversy’

Dave Weigel at the Washington Independent is reporting that the conservative / libertarian-leaning American Liberty Alliance has pulled out of the Tea Party Convention to be held in Nashville at the beginning of February. ALA had been a “gold” level co-sponsor. The group’s Eric Odom explains the move at the ALA’s Give Me Liberty blog, citing concerns about the “for profit” financing of Tea Party Nation and the convention itself. He says ALA decided that the $500 price-tag to register was high and that there was little oversight into who was controling the money and how it was being spent.

tea party

[W]e have to respond to the concerns and wishes of our membership. And quite a few of our members have asked that we consider sitting this one out.

In summary, the controversy surrounding the event involves conversations about the infrastructure of the Tea Party Nation and the way its finances are channeled through private bank accounts and paypal accounts.

To be clear, the for-profit model has its place in the movement. Many, MANY groups in the movement operate this way. But these groups should always have boards and oversight, and should never, ever process donations through personal paypal accounts.

In this particular case, it’s entirely possible that those involved are operating in a fair way. But when we look at the $500 price tag for the event and the fact that many of the original leaders in the group left over similar issues, it’s hard for us not to assume the worst.

ALA was one of the most prominent Tea Party groups to sign onto the Convention–Tea Party Patriots took a pass. The language Odom uses in citing his reasons to pull out, echoes the critiques of convention skeptics, according to Weigel.“[W]hen we look at the price tag for the event and the fact that many of the original leaders in the group left over similar issues,” writes Odom, “it’s hard for us not to assume the worst.”

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