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Tag: Corruption

Phillips takes high road, says no comment on former members… then calls me a liar

Posted by – 1/15/10

As a result of the brouhaha Anthony Shreeve and I have been causing these last few weeks with the release of inside information regarding Tea Party Nation and the National Tea Party Convention, Judson and his newest generation Advisory Board were forced to release a statement late, late last night. Aside from the slap in the face they delivered The Wall Street Journal by grouping it alongside World Net Daily in their exclusive, limited list of media organizations approved to cover the event, the group tried to downplay those of us who are now coming forward to expose corruption as some kind of minor, disgruntled employees.

Between last February and the present, Tea Party Nation has seen members come and go. We have tried to deal fairly with our present and former relationships, however, not without some criticism. This criticism has been unfortunate and we believe, unwarranted. However, it is the policy of Tea Party Nation not to focus on past challenges, but to stay focused on the task of advancing the conservative cause and defeating liberalism.

With that in mind, we will not be making any comments regarding former members.

Well, I’m glad to see they’ll be taking the high road now; up to this point Judson’s had a nasty proclivity to eject employees and threaten lawsuits following dissent within the ranks. It warms my heart to see… wait, what’s that? You mean to tell me that less than 12 hours after “taking the high road,” Judson went on record to call me a liar?

In a conversation with NationalJournal.com, Phillips, a Nashville attorney, called Smith a “liar” and defended the legitimacy of the organization. He said that ticket sales for the convention are going to a PayPal account owned by Tea Party Nation corporation.

I suppose it would’ve been nice for the author of the article to at least attempt to reach me for comment, but I’m not really all that worried. (After all, his best response is akin to playground trash-talk.) I’m much more interested in this– Do you see that nice little trick Judson played? He defends TPN and its handling of finances by saying that ticket sales are going into a PayPal account owned by TPN rather than someone’s personal account, but that was never the accusation I made. I know nothing firsthand about their current state of affairs. From my post yesterday (emphasis added):

The suggestion then was made by several in our little tea party group that we needed to set up a donation box online as we would need funding very, very soon to pay for things like the leased server, the printed Tea Party Nation banner, etc. We couldn’t wait for advertising revenue to roll in. We quickly set up a ChipIn box on the site and tied it to Judson’s wife’s PayPal account. Admittedly, I thought this was odd. I told Judson that this would make many, many potential donors really uncomfortable, but he assured me that it was just temporary since he hadn’t yet been able to get us a bank account or a PayPal account.

This occurred back in late April 2009.

See? His defense is to set up a straw man and rip it to pieces. Notice I said nothing about the convention. The truth is, donations in April 2009 to Tea Party Nation absolutely went into Sherry Phillips’s personal PayPal Account. Any of the more than 160 donors from that time period can attest to this.

Since my post on Tuesday, more and more former associates of Judson have been contacting me with information about the inner workings of Tea Party Nation in recent months. Just a suggestion: you may want to keep checking this blog over the next few days.

UPDATE: From the comments, Wanda says:

I can tell you I have an email sent to me from Sherry Phillips, that tells me how to pay for my sponsorship for the convention, and it says to send it to the Paypal account of sherry@teapartynation.com so that sounds to me like it is still a personal account not one for the organization.

No doubt this looks shady, but it’s certainly possible that this is merely the result of an extremely poor business decision to make Sherry the owner of the legitimate PayPal Business account for Tea Party Nation. I say it’s a poor decision because a publicly-facing method for accepting payments should feature more official contact information such as paypal@… or tickets@… But then again, I’m not sure Judson has been accused of making great decisions lately.

UPDATE II: Judson tells MSNBC that I’ve just got “an ax to grind.” (Glad to see we can trust him to keep his own promises, especially ones that were made only a day before.) “He’s got a motive for doing this.”

You know what? He’s absolutely right. I made my motive pretty clear in my post a few days ago:

I was approached by one of my fellow liberty-loving friends who reminded me that fraud, corruption, and deceit like this exists in Government because good men who are fully aware never stand up and say anything. How can I honestly object to this same behavior in my Government and demand they clean up Washington when I am unwilling to risk the personal and political injury it takes to expose the fraud, corruption, and deceit to which I am privy?

So to be clear:

I cannot reiterate strongly enough that this is the cancer that can take this movement down if we let it. We are not just searching for something “good enough” to beat the current powers-that-be. We hold ourselves to a higher standard, and corruption from the inside will not be tolerated.

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…

ACORN Raided

Posted by – 10/8/08

Authorities raided ACORN today yesterday in Vegas, alleging fraud. Saw that one coming. Apparently the Nevada Secretary of State was tipped off when election officials noticed that the Dallas Cowboys seemed to be registered to vote in Nevada.

Despite the recent squawking about ACORN’s nefarious activities from the center to right blogosphere, I’m sure the Dems — who pushed for as some of the bailout’s profits to go to ACORN — didn’t know anything about it.

UPDATE: More ACORN fraud, not surprisingly. This time in Kansas City, and I doubt it’s the last time we’ll hear about it.

Posted by – 6/23/08

Developing story on CNN: “The U.N. Security Council unanimously condemned Zimbabwe’s government for strife that has marred a presidential runoff campaign.”

And of course, it means nothing. Rogue and despotic governments need do no more than smile and nod at the finger wagging of the impotent United Nations.

You'd do it, too!

Posted by – 6/18/08

Roland Martin over at CNN seems ready to give the politicians a pass for taking a sweet deal from Countrywide on their mortgages.

We are a nation that loves anything VIP. Come on, don’t sit there and try to be so righteous. If you had an opportunity to be a part of the program, you would jump at it.

Oh, alright. Well I guess that makes it okay, then.

Right now, in some small town, suburb or big city, there are star athletes who get free meals and other perks from local establishments for doing well on the field or the court. Should they? According to the rules, no. But how many parents are quick to say, “Oh, no, don’t do that. It’s just not right”? Again, be honest.

Of course, it is just a tiny bit different when it looks more like bribery and collusion by a major player in the mortgage industry to influence–specifically–lawmakers who sit on the very boards and committees that affect the mortgage industry’s interests. So yes, when that happens, we really do expect our legislators to refuse special treatment in the interest of the public good. I guess that’s what happens, though, when you’ve got far too many career politicians in office and but a scant few real statesmen. There’s a real different between a star athlete getting a free meal at the local burger joint and someone who has power to write laws getting special treatment by an industry they are primarily charged with regulating.

I’m not sure anyone’s falling for Martin’s obvious redirect here. He’s clearly got some agenda behind saying this because his angle is so counter-intuitive. From the comments on the post:

Martin,
I appreciate the spin cycle, but you are so wrong on this.

and

The politicians, particularly Dodd who has been supremely critical of lenders, are recieving illicit benefits from the same company that they say snookered their consitituents into unaffordable home mortgages.

and

I don’t care about some celebrity and what special treatment he/she may get, they live in a different universe any way. But our elected and appointed officials should be above that type of special treatment.