National: Tea party wants socialist treatment | Politico.com
A national tea party group is asking for permission to keep their donors secret — just like the socialists. Citing a long litany of harassment examples, the Tea Party Leadership Fund is asking the Federal Election Commission for the same right granted to the Socialist Workers Party to shield the names and information of their donors from the public. In a new request to the FEC shared with POLITICO, the group argues that tea party donors and activists are being targeted for harassment by government officials and private groups — and they cite derogatory comments by politicians and overbearing government investigations as evidence. “Nobody likes the communists and really for good reason,” said Dan Backer, the attorney for the group who wrote and filed the complaint. But, Backer said, the same legal principle that grants left-wring groups the right to hide their donors should also cover tea party groups. “As we very thoroughly document at almost three times the length of the socialist request, tea party supporters are subject to an unprecedented level of harassment and abuse,” Backer said. If the tea party request is granted, the decision could open the floodgates to outside groups, candidates and political parties who want to hide their donors with the government’s blessing. “This will be the beginning of a conversation about the burdens and the perils of disclosure,” Backer predicted.