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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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?
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.