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Category: Fraud

Prove Me Wrong: Tea Party Nation, PayPal accounts, and a shady financial past

Posted by – 1/17/10

If you’re just arriving at this controversy, you may want to get up to speed on the back-story. Here’s the blog that started things up last week.

In an interview with NBC News, Judson gave a classic politician’s answer to my allegation that he used his wife’s personal PayPal account to accept donations in the days immediately following the April 15th “Tax Day Tea Party” in 2009.

“That’s completely false,” Phillips said. “There’s a PayPal account that goes for the corporation. The money goes into a corporate account that is held in the name of Tea Party Nation, Incorporated.”

He further elaborated in a Tennessean article published today.

PayPal payments were always directed to a Tea Party Nation bank account, not a personal account, he said.

Smith and others might have thought they were misdirected because his wife, who keeps records for the company, set up the account to send e-mail confirmations of transactions directly to her, Phillips said.

Nice little jab by Phillips, insinuating that a web professional misunderstands how PayPal works, but it seems like the more this guy opens his mouth, the worse things get for him.

This has become a hot-button topic with the press in recent days because co-mingling of personal funds with donated funds is never permissible. In every interview so far, he’s answering a different question than the one that’s been asked. My allegation was that he used his wife’s personal PayPal account in April 2009 to accept donations for Tea Party Nation. The PayPal account he claims he has always used for all ticket sales and donations wasn’t even set up until August 21, 2009– well after the donations that occurred in April. This lovely screenshot of the PayPal member information panel for Tea Party Nation’s business account proves it. (If you have a PayPal account, you can corroborate this yourself.)

paypal_member_profile

I dug deeper today, and found something that I missed the first time around.

Below is a screenshot sent to me by someone who donated to Tea Party Nation on April 17th, 2009, during the time-frame that I allege Judson and his wife were funneling donations through her personal PayPal account. It’s an email received by this donor as a receipt for the donation. (Identifying information has been blacked out to protect the donor from retribution.) But look at the email address attached to the PayPal account…

paypal_confirmation_email1

The PayPal account that was being used to accept donations in April of 2009 for Tea Party Nation was, in fact, a PayPal account with an email address from Judson’s law practice. So was it her personal PayPal account? Or was it a PayPal account she administered on behalf of “Judson Phillips, Attorney at Law”? Given his comment that sherry@teapartynation.com‘s PayPal account was a business account with her email attached to it, perhaps the same is true of the PayPal account for sherry@judsonphillips.com. Of course, one is no better than the other. Judson and his wife have a lot of explaining to do. (The description in the email above is auto-populated by ChipIn, the free service that was used to show a donation meter widget on the site. Given that I was the webmaster, I had set up this ChipIn account, thus why it shows my former TPN email address. As is stated on the ChipIn website, “Your contributors chip in via PayPal and the money goes directly into your PayPal account.” All donations went directly into the PayPal account owned by sherry@judsonphillips.com.)

Throughout last week, even more questions regarding Judson’s financial dealings have come to light. It was reported Friday that Phillips filed personal bankruptcy in 1999 and has since had three federal tax leins against him for more than $22,000. RedState’s Erick Erickson smelled something fishy on Monday. Then following Melissa Clouthier’s explosive article uncovering Phillips’s desire to make a million dollars from the Tea Party movement, Erickson had some advice for Phillips.

Just as a “for instance,” were I still practicing law I’d advise clients to have their 501(c)(4) or 527 already set up before taking people’s money. Saying the organization will turn around and pour the collected money into an as of yet unformed 527 or 501(c)(4) is questionable, if only from a tax standpoint.

I haven’t practiced law in a few years, but this was the area in which I practiced. If the fact are as reported, there is something questionable going on.

Sure, people make mistakes in life, but sometimes those mistakes carry with you for years in the form of a lack of trust. A person in this position must take extra steps to prove that all financial dealings are above board and properly organized, yet even Judson’s behavior last week in print and on radio arouse suspicion.

Given the questions raised about your inability to properly handle finances in the past, it only seems right that you should take the extra effort to show funds aren't being mismanaged this time.

So here’s the challenge, Judson. There are a lot of hard questions out there to which the convention attendees, your sponsors, the speakers, and certainly Sarah Palin deserve the answers. You called me a liar, so prove it. Tea Party Nation should immediately open its financial books for inspection with records dated from April 2009 to the present. Show the tea partiers that you’ve already set up the 527 that you claim will be receiving profits from the National Tea Party Convention. If there is truly nothing unethical going on here, then you’ve got nothing to hide. However, given the questions raised about your inability to properly handle finances in the past, it only seems right that you should take the extra effort to show funds aren’t being mismanaged this time. Sarah Palin — whose answer to the question of a speaking fee you foolishly refused to confirm — and the other speakers are trusting you with their political futures, and they deserve your honesty here.

Nothing wrong with transparency, openness, and fiscal responsibility, right? After all, it’s the very thing you claim to be demanding of government.

On the Backs of Tennessee's Middle Class (or, The Story Behind Tea Party Nation's Dishonest Beginnings)

Posted by – 1/12/10

This is the story of the tea party movement in Nashville and the duplicitous behavior, dishonesty, authoritarianism, and downright fraud that this movement is trying to ferret out of our Government. Unfortunately, this particular case comes from the inside. It’s lengthy, but important. What began as a short blog post has become a novella. I left out as many extraneous details as I possibly could and this is the boiled-down result.

In February of 2009, Rick Santelli let out the now famous rant during a segment on CNBC calling for Americans frustrated with Obama’s mortgage bailout “solution” to stand up, make their voices heard, and do something about it. In the days and weeks that followed, thousands of Americans answered his call for a new tea party, in the spirit of the Boston tea party, to present a show of force that the country wasn’t entirely in lockstep with Obama’s plans. Numerous organizations attempted to cultivate the outrage into something politically useful. While the national Republican Party and its like-minded lobbying groups would have liked immediately to lead the parade of opposition, they were woefully unprepared. That wouldn’t be the case many months later, but at least initially, the popular demand for tea party rallies sprang up in the larger cities like Nashville with such swiftness that the de facto local leader was the first moderately organized and connected person to the table. In an age of social networks and 24/7 access to the Internet, this meant that the yet uncreated position was open to almost anyone. In Nashville, the first man out of the gate was Judson Phillips.

Judson sent the word out on Facebook to the myriad groups created in reaction to Santelli’s rant that he was planning a tea party rally on February 27th at Legislative Plaza in Downtown Nashville. Anyone who could throw in and help was invited to contact him. He specifically needed someone to photo document the event so that this event could get some media coverage. I know my way around a camera, and I knew a nice SLR that I could borrow from a friend. I volunteered.

When I arrived at the plaza, I had to call him to find him in the already sizable crowd. As the phone was ringing in my ear, I saw a middle-aged man in a suit reach into his pocket and retrieve his cell phone. I hung up instead of waiting for him to answer and walked over to greet him instead. He smiled, and I introduced myself. I handed my business card to both him and the man to his left that he had been speaking with. Judson looked at my card and smirked. “hearSAY,” he said. “Well of course I like that.” In return, he handed me his business card: Judson Phillips, Attorney at Law. He patted me on the shoulder and added, “Don’t take the test. Call me in the morning.” I must have looked like some kind of lush. Apparently he was the kind of attorney that works to alleviate drunk drivers of their responsibility to the community. He was also, I would later come to discover personally, the kind of attorney who would regularly use his status as a legal professional to threaten and intimidate people into giving him what he wanted.

I had no idea what I was getting myself into. More…

Passes by 7 Votes, 8 Yeas from RINO's

Posted by – 6/26/09

Well, 9 8 RINO’s have made it pretty clear today that the GOP is in lockstep with the Democrats. Neither are a friend to fiscal conservatism, the proper role of Government, nor the scientific method.

Here’s list of the 8 GOP turncoats who sold this country down the drain with a thinly disguised central planning bill:

  • Mary Bono Mack (CA)
  • Michael Castle (DE)
  • Mark Kirk (IL)
  • Leonard Lance (NJ)
  • Frank LoBiondo (NJ)
  • John McHugh (NY)
  • Dave Reichert (WA)
  • Chris Smith (NJ)

Obama is a downright liar in saying that 95% of Americans will not see “one penny” of their taxes increased. He takes a very narrow view of “taxes” in this regard because it fits the narrative, it’s far more convenient. By “taxes” here, he clearly means only Federal income taxes. When he’s talking about the hard-working, middle class’s tax burden, he includes other non-income tax withholdings like Social Security and Medicare. It’s not that I don’t think these aren’t undue, burdensome taxes on individuals, but I think we should see some consistency here. And if those are taxes, then surely we should see as a tax an increase of $1,300 per household passed to them from the higher cost of energy that this bill introduces. Only a few years in, that’s exactly what households in Britain are enjoying.

Though we were promised the most transparent, open Congress and Administration in history, we’ve seen nearly the exact opposite. One could hardly argue the point given that we’ve seen sweeping legislation after sweeping legislation come through at the eleventh hour unread, undebated, and without presentation to Americans. It’s clear why: these are horrible bills that cannot stand up under the sunshine of public scrutiny. I’m getting tired of every piece of garbage legislation that comes through with Obama’s declaration of “fierce moral urgency” attached to it. Guess what? The world isn’t simply going to collapse if Congress takes the time to read the legislation it passes. TARP. The Stimulus. The Car Bailout. When will Americans stand up and shout, “NO! We’re not going to be bullied into this anymore! The fear-mongering stops NOW!” Legislation passed without deliberation by our representatives is fraud, plain and simple.

And this laundry list of fraud and abuses goes before we’ve even discussed this point: the whole Climate Change agenda is based on a completely ridiculous premise! It’s bad science! Carbon Dioxide is a pollutant? Does anyone really believe this? If so, I kindly ask you to save the planet: stop breathing now. We need to stop letting our politicians set the scientific agenda based on a wildly popular, wholly fallacious movie starring the most boring narrator in the world as Fear-monger #1.

Not only is carbon dioxide never been substantially tied to the cause of warming, it may be a sign of a healthier, more moderate climate. As in, effect, not cause. You see, the conclusions drawn from the statistically inaccurate hockeystick graph make an argument  based on the correlation proves causation fallacy. Al Gore and politically-invested scientists took a look at that graph and concluded that because carbon dioxide levels rose with the temperature, they must have caused it!!! Too bad that’s a terrible argument. We see that all the chatter about global warming climate change is really far more religious and far less scientific. We’re not allowed to debate it, apparently. The debate is over. There’s a consensus, I swear. Now just vote on it and shut up.

What Constitution?

Posted by – 3/19/09

After years of protesting that Bush was shredding the Constitution (certain points with which I would not disagree), the proud Democrat-led House has shown they don’t give a rat’s ass about the Constitution either. Why let those musty old laws get in the way of a good populist distraction anyway? No matter that the Constitution forbids the passage of a bill of attainder by Congress:

No bill of attainder or ex post facto Law shall be passed.

More explanation of this ridiculous move over at Sweetness & Light.

The Ironic Ponzi

Posted by – 3/14/09

Something has occurred to me, and so I’ll write this without any fluff or expansion.

The terrible irony of this financial time is that, on the one hand, we’re up in arms with endless news stories of a single man who swindled plenty of investors — though not nearly enough to crack a full percentage point of Americans. On the other hand, we’ve got a whole gaggle in Washington who are increasingly bankrupting a system in which they have likewise taken our money with a promised return. And by our, I mean every person in America who has worked or is working. Yes, all of us. Apparently we have no problem with this.

It’s as if the Ponzi schemer has time and again been exposed, performed a change of clothes, and then proceeded to win us over once more with, “Yes, that last suit caused such a horrible performance, but see? Now I’m new and improved! If you’ll only give me more of your money and stop asking so many questions, this thing can be fixed!”

Update: Heh, no sooner do I pen this thought than I read this: Bernard Madoff is Small Potatoes Compared to the Government.

JP Freire Interviewed about Tea Parties

Posted by – 3/1/09

“You know, there are places for people who can’t afford large homes. They’re called smaller homes.”

Arguing against the realities of Porkulus

Posted by – 2/12/09

While the Democrats are making emotional appeals, fighting the Republicans with straw man arguments, and continuing to pretend that the issue is already settled (have you noticed how Dems love pretending there’s a consensus?), Republican House Leader John Boehner’s blog details some serious problems with the “stimulus” and backs them up with hard numbers. Highlights:

  1. The final agreement will cost each and every household more than $6,500 in additional debt.
  2. The “Making Work Pay” tax credit at the center of the plan amounts to $1.10 a day, not even enough to ride the bus one-way to work.
  3. The final agreement is almost as much as the annual discretionary budget for the entire federal government.
  4. The $789.5 billion final agreement slated for a House vote either today or tomorrow will exceed more than $1 trillion when adding in the interest of approximately $300 billion between 2009-2019.
  5. Apparently included in the final “jobs” bill is money for plug-in vehicles, money for STD prevention, and money for ACORN (via the Neighborhood Stabilization Program and CDBG program).

Not that I am under some illusion that Republicans have suddenly come back to sound fiscal policy — how many Austrian economists could there possibly be in Congress?— but the points he makes are excellent nonetheless.

And while I’m at it, I should note that I cannot find a single, non-partisan economist who thinks this thing is a great idea. (Not to mention that this stimulus bill is so bloated beyond direct monetary injection it looks nothing like the specter of a bill that they’re arguing in favor of!) Obama sets up an awfully good argument that “[t]here is no disagreement that we need action by our government, a recovery plan that will help to jump-start the economy.” Except with all due respect Mr. President, that is just not true. There is serious disagreement with the President on this.

What about you? Are you too partisan to see beyond this ruse, or are you willing to look at the facts, listen to the experts, and make a rational decision based on common sense? If artificially low interest rates, astronomical government spending, corporate and personal welfare, and unchecked printing of the dollar is the key to prosperity, why are we in this mess?

Health Care Overhall: The Part of Porkulus that No One is Talking About

Posted by – 2/9/09

You’re simply not going to believe this. Apparently Obama, Reid, and Pelosi are trying to sneak the foundations of universal healthcare into the “stimulus.” Yet another reason they want it passed without debate.

Hiding health legislation in a stimulus bill is intentional. Daschle supported the Clinton administration’s health-care overhaul in 1994, and attributed its failure to debate and delay. A year ago, Daschle wrote that the next president should act quickly before critics mount an opposition. “If that means attaching a health-care plan to the federal budget, so be it,” he said. “The issue is too important to be stalled by Senate protocol.”

But if you’re still ignorant enough to believe universal healthcare will be a utopian dream come true, hold the phone.

Your medical treatments will be tracked electronically by a federal system. 

But the bill goes further. One new bureaucracy, the National Coordinator of Health Information Technology, will monitor treatments to make sure your doctor is doing what the federal government deems appropriate and cost effective. The goal is to reduce costs and “guide” your doctor’s decisions (442, 446).

And yes, eerily enough, many of the provisions mirror recommendations Daschle made in his 2008 snoozer Critical: What We Can Do About the Health-Care Crisis.

According to Daschle, doctors have to give up autonomy and “learn to operate less like solo practitioners.”

Awesome. I’m so glad to super-efficient, omniscient Federal Government will be in my exam room to save the day. They’ve already proven to be so brilliant in their prescription to provide mortgages to people who can’t possibly afford them. And then there’s this little Orwellian gem:

Hospitals and doctors that are not “meaningful users” of the new system will face penalties.  “Meaningful user” isn’t defined in the bill.

Ah, of course. And “meaningful user” will be defined by an unaccountable, appointed board called Federal Coordinating Council for Comparative Effectiveness Research. Like the Federal Reserve, but for all things medical. Get excited!

And now for some downsides (obvious ones, at least, for those who haven’t yet noticed them):

[Daschle] praises Europeans for being more willing to accept “hopeless diagnoses” and “forgo experimental treatments,” and he chastises Americans for expecting too much from the health-care system.

That’s right, Americans. Quit being so hopeful. That is, of course, unless it’s Hope rationed out by the Federal Council of Prosperity, Happiness, and Fairness. You see, when you’re so damn hopeful, you’re taking away the hope of others. Share it. There’s only so much to go around.

Seniors should be more accepting of the conditions that come with age instead of treating them. That means the elderly will bear the brunt.

Folks, get ready for this kind of stuff. THIS is why private insurance is good. When you get into a single-payer health insurance system, it doesn’t turn out well. And telling seniors to just suck it up and prepare to die is only one of the heartwarming benefits that comes with universal healthcare.

The Stimulus: A Legislative Abomination

Posted by – 2/6/09

What’s the real problem with this “stimulus” bill?

It’s the essential fraud of rushing through a bill in which the normal rules (committee hearings, finding revenue to pay for the programs) are suspended on the grounds that a national emergency requires an immediate job-creating stimulus — and then throwing into it hundreds of billions that have nothing to do with stimulus, that Congress’s own budget office says won’t be spent until 2011 and beyond, and that are little more than the back-scratching, special-interest, lobby-driven parochialism that Obama came to Washington to abolish. He said.

Great Op/Ed at the Washington Post. Seriously, how can anyone defend this piece of garbage?

Note to Pelosi: America Only Has 305 Million People

Posted by – 2/4/09

 

Proof positive that this whole “stimulus” boondoggle is complete garbage. Friends, be wary of the snake oil salesman who tries to sell you something with the conditions

  1. there isn’t time to debate,
  2. I’m the only one with the answer, and
  3. disaster will come if you don’t immediately do what I say.

This has been the message of the great charlatans of history, right up to last year with Hank “Corleone” Paulson. Don’t let it happen yet again in such short order.