Tea Party Patriots, which says it is the largest Tea Party organization, plans to distribute $1 million in grants to local affiliates who are working to influence the Nov. 2 congressional elections.
The $1 million is from an anonymous donor and can’t be used to directly support any candidate, organizers said at a news conference in Washington today. Instead, the funds can be used to help get voters to the polls and promote the Tea Party principles of limited government and lower taxes, they said.
The various groups that make up the Tea Party movement have succeeded in toppling politicians favored by Republican Party officials in some of this year’s nominating contests. Among the candidates who benefited from Tea Party support in winning Republican primaries for U.S. Senate seats are Republicans Christine O’Donnell in Delaware and Rand Paul in Kentucky.
“The people who swing these elections are people on the ground,” said Mark Meckler, co-founder and national coordinator of Tea Party Patriots, which says it has more than 2,800 affiliated organizations and 15 million supporters in the U.S. Meckler said his group will accept grant proposals until Sept. 26 and plans to distribute all the funds by Oct. 4.
Unlike the Tea Party Express, the Patriots group doesn’t give money directly to candidates or political action committees. It is organized as a nonprofit issue advocacy group and therefore doesn’t have to disclose its donors.