How much is Steve Bannon actually betraying the cause of working Americans while saying the opposite?
Perhaps as much as it benefits his bank account. Freedomworks, a Koch entity, openly supports open borders. What is he doing with them? Is he taking money from the Kochs now?
Why is he even talking to the open borders radicals from the Koch network of entities? And why now? He claims to be an opponent of open borders. He claims to be a populist.
This is why you always have to follow the money. If someone won’t tell you who is paying for their podcast or newsletter or *brand spanking new Georgia-based radio station* or organization or Con-Con movement, don’t trust them. Bannon’s already partnering with Jenny Beth Martin, a person who saw, in the TEA Party, a magnificent opportunity to rip off millions of well-intentioned elderly and working citizen activists in order to line her pockets. Tea Party Patriots is a scam operation on the top and a scam operation on the bottom, and the entire fraud is under the thumb of the open-borders Koch organization, Freedomworks.
On the top, the scam is a collusion between liberal mainstream media types who handpicked Jenny Beth Martin because she’s a terrible and sort of simplistic sounding spokesperson. They did this to make the whole TEA Party look bad.
At the bottom, the TPP scam is their direct mail fundraising. We have to stop falling for these criminals living large on our contributions.
I’ve met way too many little old ladies in Florida who think they’re “supporting the Tea Party” by sending Jenny Beth Martin and her husband — ten, twenty-five or more dollars a month out of their limited pensions. But “supporting the movement” is definitely not where the money went. First, Martin and her husband delayed filing their required 990s — nonprofit tax forms — for years. Many nonprofits do this to avoid scrutiny, but when you’re an organization purportedly dedicated to cleaning up corruption funded by other people’s money in Washington, it really is pretty rich to use Washington swamp tactics to conceal your own ripping-off of other people’s money.
Unfortunately for Jenny Beth, all these records, as with all non-profits, are eventually open to the public. You can go to a website called Guidestar and look at them. You have to create a login name and password, but it’s easy to do. Without paying, you can’t see all the information Guidestar has, but you can see at least the three most recent 990s an organization has filed, and sometimes more.
It took me years to get access to Jenny Beth’s 990s. And when I saw the first one, accidentally sent to me by someone in her offices, it looked nothing like the thousands of other non-profit 990s I’ve researched over the years. In their first year, under “office expenses” they listed a million dollars. This really stood out to me as bizarre, and I requested an explanation from them but received none. Note that postage and mailings, computers equipment, fundraising expenses, professional services, travel, educational projects, events, salaries and so on are listed separately from “office expenses.” Did they buy themselves a mansion? I am happy to hear from anyone who can explain this to me.
Guidestar currently has only three years of Tea Party Patriot’s 990s available for view, plus some fragmentary information about 2015. In 2015, they brought in 10.3 million dollars. That’s all I can see from 2015 because that number is included on the 2016 form. In 2016, they brought in almost 9.6 million dollars. Their board and officers and anyone making more than $100K per year have to be listed on the form. In 2016, that list consisted of Jennifer Mooneyhan Martin (Jenny Beth Martin), her husband Kevin Lewis Mooneyhan (hmmm), Elenne Busbee, Debbie Dooley, Phillip Kingston, Christian Josi, Christopher Horne, Benjamin Lloyd, and Benjamin McMath. The only people who were board members but who made no money from TPP that year, at least not in direct salaries, are Dooley and Busbee.
Note that this list is just salary compensation, and it’s just for the c-3 “educational” and organizing branches of TPP, which also has a c-4 for lobbying and a PAC for supporting candidates. Tea Party Patriots has a terrible reputation for also paying their “top officers” through shell companies for fundraising, direct mail, media consultancy, and so on, in addition to their direct compensation. These figures likely dwarf what they put on paper as their salaries. Secure Arkansas produced a report on Jenny Beth and her compatriots showing how they were trying to manipulate the grassroots to push for Con-Con, or Article V, an existentially destructive movement designed as a sort of trojan horse to destroy the TEA Party movement from within. I don’t know anything about Secure Arkansas, but according to them, Tea Party Patriots is a scam money-making organization, in bed with people trying to steal money from the grassroots and abetting the very people pushing for open borders. Other sites have produced evidence that TPP is really controlled by Freedomworks, a Koch entity designed to astroturf the real Tea Party Movement. I recommend you read Secure Arkansas’s entire, long post to evaluate how you are being played. And never give these TPP AND Freedomworks and AFP types another dime of your hard-earned money. I’m sorry to those of you who fell for them. I fell for them once too. Don’t feel personally bad about it. But do ask questions and demand to see several years of financials before you give anyone a dime, no matter how much they seem to support your causes.
In 2016, Jenny Beth (or Jennifer Mooneyhan Martin, as the official documents read) reported $261,541 in direct salary and benefits. Believe it or not, that’s pretty average compensation for a “non-profit” director. Non-profits are anything but. Along with Jenny Beth, her husband, Kevin Lewis Mooneyham, raked in $136,589 as a board member and another cool 13-plus-K from direct “other compensation” related to the organization, not including travel, possible reimbursements for consultancy, and so on. So, even before they started skimming off even bigger wads of cash from retirees by paying themselves through shell organizations that sold “services” back to TPP, they were directly raking in a cool 400K plus from elderly women living in cinderblock houses in Florida who earnestly sent them cash every month. For just one example, as recently as 2014, Jenny Beth was receiving an additional $15,000 a MONTH for “consulting” with the very organization she was getting a salary to run. And none of this includes the high-end travel, high-end conferences, million dollar “office expenses,” payments for appearances at events and non-conservative new outlets, and the countless other perks they managed to pocket while manufacturing some of the most unbelievable 990s I’ve seen in my thirty years of investigating nonprofits and evaluating them for grants.
In other words, Tea Party Patriots is just another swamp creature.
This is where it gets interesting.
Tea Party Patriots purports to be a grassroots organizations empowering people to organize against government waste. So guess how much they spent to support to local organizations in 2016? No, really, guess.
$1,500. Out of nearly $9.6 million dollars raised, they spent $1,500 on direct support of the grassroots movement. Let’s use the google machine to figure out the percentage. That is .01562% of what they raised for a purportedly “grassroots” organization that purportedly supports grassroots. Also, they were in bed with Grover Norquist. You can read the 2016-990 here, though you may have to sign in to Guidestar first. Don’t worry about doing that. They’re not a political organization: they’re a search tool used by nonprofits, grant makers and universities to harvest data for their donor lists. They provide a nice service to the rest of us by making some of this information free. I’ve used them for years, and so do most other conservative researchers.
Let’s look at 2017. In 2017. Jenny Beth — cough — Jennifer Mooneyhan Martin — raked in $241,500 in direct salary and claimed a paltry $31 in “other compensation from the organization and other related organizations.” Hubby Kevin Lewis Mooneyhan made 131,900 and $6,727 in “other compensation.”
As it wasn’t an election year, the organization’s income understandably took a nosedive. TPP raised $5.61 million as opposed to $9.59 million the previous year. Their salaries took no similar nosedive — just a bit of a dent.
Gee, do you think these people ever think about throwing an election — say two Georgia Senate Races — in order to fill up their coffers again? Here’s the Steve Bannon part: Steve works with Jenny Beth Martin, and she appears on his show regularly. Bannon also works with John Fredericks, who has started a radio station in Georgia starring open-borders, anti-incarceration, faux conservative (former) District 9 Congressman Doug Collins, who is probably the single person most responsible for losing the U.S. Senate to Democrats because he’s well into a two-year temper tantrum about not being appointed to the Senate by Georgia Governor Brian Kemp. Doug has been running whisper campaigns all around the state about how conservatives shouldn’t vote in the Senate runoffs because their votes might be “stolen.”
For the record, it’s awfully hard to steal a vote in Georgia, unless you steal it from yourself by petulantly not voting in the first place. Georgia has a system where you can call your county and find out if you voted in person or by mail, and on which day, so you can make sure that you, and nobody else, used your name or mailed ballot to vote. The election has been audited without producing a single complaint of a vote that was cast by mail or in person by someone other than the voter checking. They can’t “steal” your vote that way.
Nonetheless, Steve Bannon and John Fredericks (more on him later) spent months telling their listeners to not vote for Republican Senators Kelley Loeffler and David Perdue because their votes might be “stolen.” I also received about a dozen brochures from the now openly Democrat, open-borders zealot Koch organizations warning me that if I voted, not only might my vote be “stolen,” but my identity might be exposed to my neighbors. Huh?
It was a statewide scare campaign against elderly conservative voters, and, shamefully, it worked. And for weeks before the election, nearly every day on Steve Bannon’s War-Room show, he’d close out a segment by interviewing Fredericks or someone else purportedly “on the ground in Georgia” with some always unnamed “older woman” who expressed concern that if she voted, her vote would be “stolen,” so she wasn’t going to vote in the runoff. After this anonymous song-and-dance, Steve and John Fredericks would feign concern and empathy for this unnamed, non-existent older female voter, and then they’d play some rap song about defeating the Chi-Com government written and performed by the ex-pat Chinese billionaire who underwrites all of Steve’s programs and his lifestyle. Now, I fully support the belief that the Chi-Coms are evil, repressive dictators who murder their own people and spread a deadly virus (one that they may or may not have intentionally manufactured) around the world, killing millions of other countries’ citizens. But that doesn’t mean Bannon should exploit American audiences in order to enrich himself and advance his own geopolitical and financial interests in the Far East.
Bannon should have never, never, ever discouraged people from voting. And now that he and Doug Collins and John Fredericks and Jenny Beth Martin lost us the Senate with their toxic shenanigans, there’s no point in ever trusting any of them again.
Always, always follow the money.
So, back to 2017, Tea Party Patriots tax filings. Jennifer (Jenny Beth) and Kevin Mooneyhan made a little less that year. Donations were understandably down in an off-election cycle. They didn’t make that much less however, $379K versus $411K in 2016. So they still pulled in 92% of their up-front salaries. Not bad, especially considering that Tea Party Patriots as a whole only brought in a bit more than half the donations they made in 2016. Hey, bygones. Lifestyles must be maintained. Plus, money can be shifted around. Husbands can rake in bucks from other organizations lying to the grassroots: wifey can peddle herself out to cable news shows.
All we can see directly are the nonprofit’s 990s. In 2017, “office expenses,” still inexplicable, were now up to $1.4 million. Fundraising expenses alone were nearly $2.2 million.
They did save a soupçon of cash by reducing their direct support for grassroots organizations — from $1,500 in 2016 to $1,250 in 2017.
But they increased the fundraising budget paid to politically connected consultants by $114,792.
And this is called draining the swamp? Tea Party Patriots was only ever just one big cash dispenser for the handful of people at the top.
2018 is the latest 990 filing from Tea Party Patriots available at Guidestar. Predictably, they’re nearing three years late again, and we cannot access their crucial 2019 and 2020 election campaign years, although they may be having trouble paying their accountant to get the forms done.
Because donations for all of 2018 were down to $206,487. That’s right — from $10 million plus in 2015 to 200K in 2018. Their net assets now stand at negative $1.6 million. How can that be? Did they bounce back during Trump’s last run and we just don’t know it yet because they’re late again with filing, or did people just figure out they were grifters all along? Did they shift money over to their c-4 and their PAC, where it can be concealed from scrutiny? One thing is certain: all those decent retirees and working-class and middle-class people who sent money to Jenny Beth Martin and her husband have been screwed by them. They pretended to be building a movement, and all they did was funnel money off it, go on to make the rest of us look stupid, and then took the money and ran.
Jenny Beth Martin was never a “leader” of the TEA Party. The TEA Party is a widely dispersed movement — it always was a movement, not a Party. The Achilles heel of this movement continues to be one thing: not all the millions of decent people who identify themselves as members of it, but the sleazy astroturfers who try to control it from the top, from AFP, to the national Tea Party Patriots board (as opposed to local groups who call themselves TPP), to Freedomworks — from the Kochs, to Jenny Beth Martin, to Mark Meckler and his Article V/ Con-Con snake oil, to former Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele and others trying to sell the conservative grassroots on abolishing the electoral college and implementing a National Popular Vote. The Kochs are now openly supporting Democrat candidates while keeping Pinocchio Rubio firmly under their thumb.
Are Steve Bannon and John Fredericks the next snake oil purveyors we need to show to the gate?
Well, if they’re in bed with Jenny Beth Martin and Doug Collins, there’s a real good chance that is true.