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Revealed: JoinTheTeaParty.us took $469,000 in donations, spent none of it on candidates

By Stephen C. Webster
Friday, October 29, 2010
Topics:  ♦  ♦ 
 

Report: Arizona-based website took nearly $500,000 in donations but didn’t turn out support for tea party or candidates

A website run out of Arizona, ostensibly to support the so-called tea party movement, is under scrutiny after a local news organization dug into their finances and ownership, only to find what some may characterize as a remarkable scam.

According to Federal Election Commission (FEC) disclosure forms,JoinTheTeaParty.us took in approximately $469,000 in donations this year and spent roughly half its budget on marketing, with the rest going to distinctly non-political avenues.

 

In fact, according to CBS 5 in Phoenix, there’s no evidence the group spent so much as a dime to promote tea party candidates or related events.

FEC forms pulled by CBS affiliate show the group spent nearly $200,000 on search engine optimization and Google sponsorship, along with Facebook ads promoting their website. Submitting a Google search for “tea party” returned with the site atop the list of results.

They even advertised the site on Craigslist, with an impassioned appeal to “patriots” who may be sympathetic to conservative causes. Ironically enough, the ad states numerous times that this group in particular is a “marketing campaign” with a fundraising goal of $500,000 per week.

The domain is owned by Todd Cefaratti, an Arizona businessman with a background in data collection. His other business specializes in mining contact information and reselling the leads to clients in the reverse mortgage industry.

“Thousands” of donors have given their personal contact information and credit card numbers to the tea party site, according to CBS.

In spite of the obvious political implications of calling a group part of the tea party, which is not an official organization or political party, Cefaratti’s website is run by “Stop This Insanity, Inc.,” a 501(c)4 organization — meaning, they are not a solely political organization and they’re exempt from federal income taxes.

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Dustin Stockton is the chief strategist with TP.NET. He evidently used to be with TPExpress as did the powers that be with PAN(Patriotic Action Network). I think Stop The Insanity is linked to TP.NET BTW.

About - Tea Party Express

Debbie Lee President, America's Mighty Warriors. Andrea Shea King, The Radio Patriot.Dustin Stockton, Western Representation PAC · Lloyd Marcus ...
Ray, I'm not sure about this "stop the Insanity, thing. I've been on that site haven't donated anything and it seems to be fairly informative.  So will have to check out what is going on. Zorba is there, too sometimes. Perhaps she has more insight. I'd heard something about this months ago, but never haerd anything more about it.
I just find it a little suspicious Minnow. TP.NET would appear to be putting donations to work BUT as I have always said I would like to see transparency in all politically oriented groups. I see some pretty close ties between PAN--TP.US and TP.NET and TPExpress.---And TP.US and PAN have changed their names which doesn't make sense vs trying to establish name recognition.
OK, we'll watch as it unfolds.  In the meantime, I do not donate unless I'm sure.  Only did one and that was to Tea - just once.

I've expressed some doubts in this forum about TeaParty.net

The main skill seems to be online solicitation.   I'm not surprised

accomplishments have  been hard to locate.

Campaign Finance

Many here are aware of the situation Ed. This is why we need transparency vs all politically oriented organizations. I am not picking on TP.net as much as I am saying ALL politically oriented oriented organizations need to be caused to open their books.

As I recall there were two people vinvoled. Are they still "related "? Todd Ceffaretti   and Ron Dove

Is / are there going to be any ...........ramifications.

Will there be any smears on the tea party.

 

No mention here of TP.US and I do note Cefaratti is heavy into marketing.  Ron Dove is mentioned here Richard.------ 

ACU and TheTeaParty.net Announce Two New Speakers for CPAC Alaskan Cruise August 27, 2011

/EINPresswire.com/ Alexandria, VA - July 27, 2011 -- www.TheTeaParty.net and theAmerican Conservative Union announced today that two Tea Party leaders—Todd Cefaratti and Donna Wiesner Keene—are joining the 2011 CPAC Alaska Cruise as speakers. This second annual destination cruise leaves from Seattle on August 27 and returns September 3. 

Todd Cefaratti founded TheTeaParty.net with his college friend, Ron Dove, as he watched Tea Party members take to the streets protesting a government that was not listening to its people. A School Board member of one of the largest and most successful Christian Schools in Arizona, Cefaratti recently sold his successful marketing company. He is a graduate of The University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), and after the cruise will attend Harvard University's Digital Marketing Program. 

Donna Wiesner Keene is the Washington liaison for TheTeaParty.net and a senior fellow with the Independent Women's Forum. She has held positions in the Reagan, Bush and Bush Administrations, for the U.S. House when the Republicans took over the House for the first time in 40 years in 1994, and in Richmond, Virginia, was an aide to a then-unknown but well-respected House of Delegates member now the Governor of Virginia. 

Al Cardenas, Chairman of ACU and former Chairman of the Republican Party of Florida, said, "As we discuss and debate the most pressing policy issues of today, Todd's and Donna's insights will be a critical piece of the conservative dialogue. The core values at the heart of the Tea Party movement are as vital to politics today as the Campaign for Liberty, the Christian Coalition and the Reagan Revolution additions were in their times. As the American Conservative Union continues expanding our successful CPAC initiative, our annual cruise is a unique opportunity for families and individuals from across the country to closely interact with leaders of the conservative movement in one of America's most beautiful locations." 

Other CPAC Cruise speakers include President of Americans for Tax Reform, Grover Norquist; former Secretary of Defense and Congressman, Donald Rumsfeld; President of the National Rifle Association and Vice-Chairman of CPAC, David A. Keene; former head of the Christian Coalition, Ralph Reed, Cofounder and Partner of Public Opinion Strategies, Glen Bolger; Founder and Executive Director of the League of American Voters, Bob Adams; and Founder and president of the National Tax Limitation Committee, Lew Uhler. Governor Parnell of Alaska will host the cruisers in Juneau. 

CPAC Cruise cosponsors include the American Conservative Union, The Washington Times, 
TheTeaParty.net and Americans for Tax Reform. 
www.washingtontimes.com  -  www.atr.org 

To register for this event or learn more about the speakers and agenda, visit the CPAC Alaska Cruise website
www.cpaccruise.com 

### 

The American Conservative Union is growing the CPAC initiative beyond its marquee convention of 11,000 conservatives—the nation's largest gathering of conservatives—held each year in Washington, DC, to include cruises to various locations and the inaugural series of regional CPACs in 2011. 

TheTeaParty.net is an Internet-based Tea Party resource with more than 400,000 members and up to one million hits a month, including a free national calendar, free petition software, and free educational Cyber Tour interviews. 

#cruise, #CPAC, #ACU, #teaparty, #Cefaratti, #Wiesner Keene, #tcot, theteaparty.net

The $200k spent on "search engine optimization, Google sponsorship, and Facebook ads" would raise suspicion that, in one way or another, the organization was paying themselves  to do the job it does best -- data mining and online marketing.

The  sites may well have served simply as platforms for email harvesting. As I recall, the 'enter email' box was the most prominent item on the page.  I doubt there is anything illegal about what he is doing, but campaign finance regulators will be looking.

JoinTheTeaParty.us is defunct. It was a go-daddy domain. TP.NET home address is a POB in DC. The phone is never answered by anything except an answering machine. I know--I have called several times.Voice messages are not replied to. Emails are not replied to. ---Nuff said for now. 

I read a bio of Todd Cefaratti today.  Now, according to what I read, Mr. Cefaratti has all the credentials to qualify as an outstanding Tea Party leader.  From what I read, he is concerned citizen, activist, patriot, very intelligent, talented, all those things we want, with a track record of conservative activism to back it up.

According to the campaign finance, the organization still has half of the $429M unspent. In itself, raising that kind of money is an amazing accomplishment.

Mr. Cefaratti has to understand that nobody trusts nobody in today's political game, much less Tea Party freelancers, without plenty of openness and  clarity of objectives and purposes.  That's just the way it is. How many sincere televangelists have wound up in tax court?  I would guess,  quite a few.

Agreed Ed. The TP simply needs to let everyone know where the $ go. I could care less how much is in reserve or who contributes.

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