There is some debate about the creation of the Tea Party, but ultimately they merge into one. In 2002, a Tea Party movement website was published at usteaparty, it stated “our US Tea Party is a national event, hosted continuously online and open to all Americans who feel our taxes are too high and the tax code is too complicated”. The website was owned by the Citizens for a Sound Economy, a Koch Brothers front group that later became Americans For Prosperity and FreedomWorks, the two main financial supporters of the Tea Party, The site did not take off at the time. That website later became The Sam Adams Alliance.
In another version in 2009 someone on Market Ticker (an investment site) suggested posting tea bags to their elected representatives in Congress as a form of protest. Stephanie Jasky immediately leapt on the idea, Jasky bought an economy box of tea bags and posted one to every member of Congress. The idea was grabbed by Conservative campaigns such as FreedomWorks and aggressively promoted.
In another version following calls by Rick Santelli for a “tea party” by Chicago bond-dealers, conservative groups coalesced around the idea of protesting against Obama’s “liberal” agenda and a series a of protests took place, including the 2009 Taxpayer March on Washington.
From its website: The Tea Party is a grassroots movement that calls awareness to any issue which challenges the security, sovereignty, or domestic tranquility of our beloved nation, the United States of America. From our founding, the Tea Party represents the voice of the true owners of the United States: we the people. The Tea Party has 15 “Core” beliefs: 1. Illegal aliens are here illegally. 2. Pro-domestic employment is indispensable.
- A strong military is essential. 4. Special interests must be eliminated. 5. Gun ownership is sacred. 6. Government must be downsized. 7. The national budget must be balanced. 8. Deficit spending must end. 9. Bailout and stimulus plans are illegal. 10. Reducing personal income taxes is a must. 11. Reducing business income taxes is mandatory. 12. Political offices must be available to average citizens. 13. Intrusive government must be stopped. 14. English as our core language is required. 15. Traditional family values are encouraged.
The Tea Party beliefs fit well with the Koch Brothers Libertarian agenda, with significant differences. The Koch Brothers want to cut taxes but only for corporations and the rich. And they want to eliminate government regulations (especially the EPA), so they can make more money and pollute more.
The Tea Party meets locally, but regularly have “events”. All of these events are sponsored by and paid for by Americans For Prosperity and FreedomWorks, in other words by the Koch Brothers. Finally, the Koch Brothers have their own Astroturf “grass roots movement”. And most of the Tea Party leadership is affiliated with AFP or FreedomWorks.
About their sponsors: Dick Armey admitted to Media Matters, “FreedomWorks at this point essentially raises money for the sake of raising money. It exists to bilk activists.” And as Rick Perlstein said in the Baffler, some of the largest conservative media organs are essentially massive email lists of suckers rented to snake oil salesmen.
These are the people that pull the strings of the Tea Party.