Could you or your local tea party be in coalition or affiliated with someone you may not support? Are you aware that groups have conducted surveys and studies of the tea party in order to better use these groups for their purposes, whether good or bad? The Left has often said the tea parties were astroturf and never real. Many of us remember well the earliest days of the movement, five years ago, and it was absolutely real and absolutely independent. But what has happened in the five years since?

Many national groups have claimed to be representing "the" Tea Party, like Tea Party Patriots, Tea Party Express, FreedomWorks, Ron Paul groups, 9/12 You Surround Them and more. Many on the Left have claimed the Koch brothers are financing the Tea Party. (Well, they may contribute to some national groups, but I doubt if your local tea party has ever received a Koch check in the mail!) Many other movements, like the current Article V Con Con groups, have promoted their causes heavily at tea parties nationwide. There are many large money and power driven organizations that have attempted to use the tea parties to their own ends. There are even some religious movements that have worked hard with tea parties to advance their agendas. This is not to say which, if any, of these groups is a force for good or not-so-good. It is to say that you absolutely need to be aware of who they are and what their goals are in working with your group.

How many different emails are you getting in your Inbox these days from the many "official" conservative groups and efforts around the country? How many petitions are you asked to sign almost daily? Has anyone followed up to see what happened to the petition? Did anything come of it, other than the construction of a really, really big email list for future solicitations from that group?

Example:


"American God Save the Country Super Patriot Rally"
Join us this May for the rally that can change everything!
Come hear great speakers in a family oriented picnic atmosphere.
Learn about efforts going on now to stop corruption in D.C.
Tea parties and conservative groups, this one's for you!
Let's work together to save our beloved nation.
Free admission.

So, what do you do next? Do you make your reservation? Do you pass the email on to all of your local friends? NO! You find out WHO is behind this group, WHAT their group and/or personal agenda is, and then make an informed decision.

Here are a few steps to try:

Visit the website and carefully review. Is there an "About Us" page? There should be, with actual names and any affiliations. Too many sites these days are not giving out any real information on their "About Us" pages, other than telling you they are a bunch of like-minded patriots. No names? No phone? No support.

Are there links to other sites? This can also tell you who they are or who they work with. Often, you will find that they are affiliated with a larger organization that you may not support.
Is there a forum? Get a feel for who is commenting there and what their objectives seem to be.

Do you recognize any of the names that are running it? Google them and see what their background and affiliations are. Who have they worked for previously? Are they really grassroots or political operatives?

Are they part of a coalition? What other groups are in the coalition? Are they groups you can also support and trust?

Yes, it takes time, but if you are sincere about doing what is best for the country, then give it the time. Maybe you even have a few local members who enjoy research and would be willing to do this for the group and report at each meeting. However you choose to address it, the very survival of independent tea party groups will depend on it.

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