A new analysis published in the Washington Post over the weekend found that the tea party, which exploded onto the national scene as an angry reaction to wasteful spending in Washington, is bringing in millions from supporters but spending only a small fraction on candidates they're working to elect.
Where is the money going? Much of it to expensive political consultants and lavish incomes for themselves.
The Washington Post's Matea Gold wrote of one party leader, Tea Party Patriots President and Chairwoman Jenny Beth Martin, "Her twin salaries put her on track to make more than $450,000 this year, a dramatic change in lifestyle for the tea party activist, who had filed for bankruptcy in 2008 and then cleaned homes for a period of time to bring in extra money."
Gold joined Hardball Monday night to discuss her reporting, which found that of the six major tea party PACs that have said they're going to engage in this year's midterm elections, only a fraction of the $37 million they've put out has actually gone toward helping candidates.
"Instead, half of that money has gone to fundraising to bring more money in, a lot to Washington-area fundraising direct mail firms, and there are hundreds and thousands of dollars in fees we found going into the leaders of these groups for consulting fees," Gold said.
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