Sen. Richard Lugar, who lost his primary fight in Indiana Tuesday, doesn’t need any reminders of the tea party movement’s ongoing appeal. But for those who do, another one surfaced recently in the tax return of the tea party movement’s biggest umbrella organization.
The Woodstock, Ga.-based Tea Party Patriots reported raising $12.2 million for the year ended May 31, 2011. That vaults them into the ranks of some of the most successful conservative activist groups, including FreedomWorks, the Club for Growth and Americans for Tax Reform.
Much attention has been focused this election season on super PACs and nonprofits – some with ties to the tea-party movement – that are raising large sums, often from wealthy donors, and pouring it into campaign-themed advertising.
By contrast, the Tea Party Patriots and their affiliated groups are generally staying focused on the grassroots ground game – training, issue education, webinars and tele-town halls, and mobilizing of volunteers. The Patriots say they have 3,500 local affiliates, as well as a mailing list of 310,000 small-dollar donors. They also say they’ve raised even more money for the 2012 fiscal year, although they declined to provide numbers.