National Tea Party groups are gearing up for an influx of unregulated campaign cash this year. On Monday, January 23, the Tea Party Express became the second national Tea Party faction to dive into the big money world of super PACs with the formation of the Tea Party Express Presidential Campaign PAC. The Tea Party Express joins FreedomWorks, which formed its super PAC last summer.
Unlike the Our Country Deserves Better – TeaPartyExpress.org PAC which was bound by regular PAC contribution limits, the Tea Party Express Presidential Campaign’s “super” status will allow it to accept unlimited donations to fund independent expenditures.
In a letter to the Federal Election Commission, Tea Party Express Presidential Campaign PAC Treasurer Kelly Lawler wrote that the newly formed super PAC planned to use its funds exclusively to make independent expenditures and raise funds “in unlimited amounts from individuals, corporations, labor organizations and/ or other political committees.”
The Tea Party Express Presidential Campaign PAC, shares a Willow, California post office box with the Our Country Deserves Better – TeaPartyExpress.org PAC, and the Campaign To Defeat Barack Obama. Kelly Lawler is also listed as the treasurer for all three PACs.
The Tea Party Express announcement comes six months after FreedomWorks filed the paperwork creating the FreedomWorks For America super PAC.
Filed with the Federal Elections Commission on July 15th, FreedomWorks For America formally launched at the CPAC convention in Orlando, Florida on September 23, 2011. This is the second PAC set up by FreedomWorks. Unlike the original FreedomWorks Inc. PAC, this one is set up so that it, too, can take unlimited donations.
FreedomWorks Vice President Russell Walker told The Hill in August that the PAC’s money will go primarily towards Internet communication, get-out-the-vote materials for local Tea party groups and activists, and materials for door-to-door and phone-banking campaigns. The group hopes to raise at least $5 million for 2012.
Throughout 2012, IREHR will be keeping a close eye on Tea Party cash—tracking who contributes and how the money is spent.