Some of you are already aware that at 5:00 PM Thursday, February 23rd, Ginny Rapini, Mark Meckler and Mike Ruthenburg submitted their resignations to Tea Party Patriots.
I have included the text of all three resignations. I have already received many e-mails from state coordinators across the United States, with the majority taking the information provided in the letters of resignation and being grateful that we were transparent and willing to publish these letters. On the other hand, there have been a few who have “demanded” to be told all the details regarding the list of reasons why we resigned.
My personal conviction about those requests is this; to whom these letters were addressed, namely the Board of Directors of Tea Party Patriots, know exactly what we are talking about when addressing each reason why we came to our decision. Therefore, to elaborate to those who can’t improve on or change the situation would constitute gossip on my part.
Making these letters public is simply to inform those hard working Tea Partiers that their leaders have demonstrated integrity and courage to stand up to wrong doing. Also, we want to encourage each one of you and assure you that we will not miss a beat. We will continue to do what we do and do it well.
To all Tea Party Patriots board members; Mark Meckler, Jenny Beth Martin, Ken Campbell, Ernst Istook, Debbie Dooley, and Sally Ohar:
It is with deep regret that I find it necessary to resign from the board of directors of the Tea Party Patriots, effective immediately.
My regret is not that I need to step away from something I love and care for. On the contrary, I regret the changes that have taken place among the majority of the board members that has caused this organization to forget their first love and commitment of integrity and operating above reproach and instead has become all that we have fought against. It is that regret that makes me see that there is no hope of regaining what we have lost. Not cannot happen with the current president and her followers.
When first asked to come on the board, I was honored and extremely humbled. I wondered how I could contribute to this wonderful organization. The answer to that concern was revealed to me last spring when an incident occurred that , if not illegal, was highly unethical in the way it was handled. As I watched this unfold I was stunned to see how it played out. I could not align myself with the majority of the board and instead of my concerns being addresses, they were ridiculed.
Trials and difficulties come and test relationships and character. That situation last year revealed the characters of most of the board members and some spouses. One of blatant arrogance and excuse making. Since then, I have found myself fighting the same battles on our board that we are all fighting in our states and nationally.
I saw cronyism, fiscal irresponsibility, and behavior, that while legal was unethical. I saw an elitism attitude and even a feeling of entitlement and superiority over those who dare to challenge them for their wrongdoing.
I watched passive aggressive behavior toward those of us who disagreed, childish temper tantrums from the president, lies and deception from the chairman of the board and a lack of courage from those who should be standing on principle and not wanting to just be among the popular.
It became clear to me, almost a year ago, that the value of and emphasis on the grassroots had been lost. I also began to see that some on the board, in the most powerful positions, had been corrupted by power, money and notoriety.
One on the board has been affected in the exact opposite. The more power, notoriety and success he has experienced, the more humble he has become. Mark Meckler has never wavered from the character he has always had.
It is my sincere desire that the board will be rocked to their senses and get back to the point that truly made us great. Not by my resignation, but by the awareness of TPP leaders throughout this country who have sacrificed so much and remained true and faithful to the movement. Whose character has not been stained with corruption and who will stand strong, faithful and true to the finish line.
Please let me know if I can ever be of any service to you here in California.
Ernest (and the rest of the TPP Board),
Thank you for taking the time and effort to convey the Board’s desire to terminate my association with TPP, and the terms upon which TPP desires to make that separation. I also now understand that you have withdrawn your offer prior to any response from me. That’s fine, because I am afraid that your email fails to even begin to comprehend the point I have been trying to make with the Board for a very long time.
My desire is, and always has been, to advance a scenario where I am able to use the substantial fund raising infrastructure we have developed at TPP to funnel significant money and resources to the grassroots. I have sought, unsuccessfully, to push TPP towards this as a primary mission. I have always believed this to be the primary mission of TPP, but as we have raised more and more money, now into the many millions of dollars, only a very small and insignificant portion of those funds are directed to grassroots on the ground. The proposal you made not only would not enable me to assist the grassroots in this way, but would actually hamper me from accomplishing that mission. I am, and will remain dedicated to working to provide resources to the grassroots regardless of whether or not I am associated with TPP on an ongoing basis.
I have repeatedly expressed, over a long period of time, my discomfort with the way the financial affairs of TPP have been handled, and that I believe that TPP is fiscally irresponsible in the way that it spends and manages donor monies. The expenditure of $250,000 of donor money to sponsor the Southern Republican Leadership Conference debate was only one in a long line of expenditures which I have opposed and which I believe are contrary to the obligations we have to be a good tea party steward of donor funds. That $250,000 could have done an enormous amount of good if it had been distributed to local tea parties to help them with their ground games in 2012. Instead, it was a colossal waste, which served to foster the narrative that TPP is a tool of the Republican party, while providing minimal PR value at best.
It is clear that I no longer have any viable input on the direction of the organization, either philosophically or in its corporate operations. As Treasurer, I have been excluded from the distribution of critical financial information, and critical discussions about the finances of the organization. All personnel matters, including the recent inappropriate termination of Dawn Wildman (due to her complaints about the same matters) are being handled without any input from me. Over my objections, we have hired an executive level employee, Scott Crockett who is a former professional lobbyist with DCI in Washington, DC, a former Republican campaign operative, and formerly associated with AFP and the Koch Brothers as the director of their “Spending Revolt” project. While TPP publicly states to the State Coordinators that Crockett is only responsible for “staff management” he is, and has been for some time, intimately involved with the TPP PR messaging team, and has been deeply involved in developing the plan according to which we now operate. According to Jenny Beth, Scott is the “primary author” of TPP’s current business operating plan.
It is also clear that my personal fight to see that TPP remain a bottom-up, grassroots organization has failed. As you know, I am not the only board member with this opinion. However, I understand that we are not in the majority on the Board, and have been outvoted on these issues. I have fought this fight largely in private, hoping to convince the TPP board to remain true to its founding culture. Clearly, it is impossible for me to function with TPP in any official capacity any longer.
The statement in your recent email that it is somehow “derogatory” for me to publicly disagree with Jenny Beth Martin when she calls the current Republican Presidential candidates a bunch of “losers,” makes it clear that we could never enter into a mutual non-disparagement agreement that would work. The suggestion that I would enter into any such agreement runs contrary to the responsibility that each of us has to the movement, and to the country at large. I must be able to speak freely when I believe that anyone is doing anything to damage the movement, and the majority of people who were watching the interview on Cavuto agreed that it was a bad thing to say. While the folks running for the Republican Presidential nomination are a lot of things, they are certainly not “all losers,” as stated by Jenny Beth on air. When it was pointed out in a major blog, by a reputable blogger (Gateway Pundit) that such a statement was wrong and damaging, I stepped up to take responsibility and agree. If you note, in my responsive post, I criticized myself as well, for not stepping up in that moment and making my opinion clear, that I do not agree with Jenny Beth’s statement that the Republican candidates are “all losers.” Your recent email to me indicating that if we entered into a non-disparagement agreement that I would not be able to make such statements, means that we can never enter into any such agreement. I would never agree to be fettered in my ability to criticize politicians for saying things that damage the cause of self-governance in this country, and obviously I cannot be fettered in regard to speaking my mind when Jenny Beth or anyone else calls all the Republican candidates “losers.” The idea that you want to bind me to an agreement not to say such things runs contrary to the ethos of the movement itself.
The only thing I have ever tried to do in my public statements as a representative of Tea Party Patriots is to reflect the sentiments of the movement at large, in the best and most honest way I know how. Though I will no longer be speaking on behalf of TPP, I will continue to speak my mind publicly, honestly and objectively.
I sincerely regret that I have been unable to represent these faithful and devoted grass roots groups’ interests to the Board in a manner to sufficiently convince a majority of you that building up their capability to act independently should be the top priority of TPP. It seems at this point that my attempts to serve their interest at the board level have reached an impasse and now my attempt to negotiate a severance that would equip me to serve them by utilizing the TPP donor list to help them raise funds for local endeavors now also seems impossible. It was my intent to use any severance package and a copy of the TPP donor list to allow me to embark on serious efforts to provide such support to local grassroots organizers across the country.
Based on the above, and a now long history of being excluded from the day to day operations of Tea Party Patriots, I hereby tender my resignation both from Tea Party Patriots, Inc. and Tea Party Patriots Foundation, Inc.. as a board member, officer and National Coordinator. I will find other ways to serve and build up the grassroots by equipping and enabling them to foster true self-governance. I will work to do this in any way I possibly can. Please forward any paperwork necessary to effectuate the legal transfer of my obligations to others still within the organization.
I am armed with the truth, and am equipped and able to tell it as necessary. However, my first priority is to serve our great country and its citizens in restoring our great heritage of self-governance. I sincerely hope the leaders of Tea Party Patriots will not expend any further resources seeking to oppose or disable me. There are plenty of enemies of the Republic for us to focus our attention upon. I hope you see that further attacks against me will only undermine TPP’s already damaged credibility, and will that you will work to stop Jenny Beth and Sally’s continuing assault against me. The abusive and threatening text messages that I received from Jenny Beth’s husband Lee (and of which I retain copies) are evidence enough. As you are aware, there is much more. I would personally prefer not to have to get into such a public display. I think that for the movement and the organization, at this point it is best to simply part ways and move on.
I am and will always be co-founder of Tea Party Patriots. It is something I hope I will always be proud of. I would like nothing better to see TPP succeed and be able to cheer your accomplishments. Unfortunately, I believe that with the questionable path you have chosen, against my repeated advice and admonitions (and the advice and admonitions of other officers and board members), you have a very bumpy road ahead. I hope that in the future you and the rest of the Board will apply all your resources and energies toward supporting the grassroots citizen activists who really are the movement.
Best wishes in your continued endeavors.
Dear Ms. Martin and those interested in Tea Party Patriots,
The Tea Party Movement is near and dear to my heart. In April, 2009 I stood shoulder to shoulder with hundreds of Patriots in protest of a government that had woefully lost touch with the people it is supposed to serve. I went to show my solidarity with those who felt that we were being represented by fiscally irresponsible politicians at virtually all levels of government. I was interested in returning America to our founding principles based on a free market economy.
You can imagine my excitement and encouragement when I was tapped years later to join the Staff of Tea Party Patriots to further their mission.
It has been a relatively short ride to date and unfortunately, I no longer see the grassroots, thriving and effective organization I joined in the middle of last year. What started as a bottom-up organization that relied heavily on it’s members to chart the course, has quickly become a poster child for what we are supposed to be fighting against.
The reason for my hopelessness comes in my witnessing the same political gamesmanship at the top of this organization that I see in dysfunctional governments Nationwide. Being on the inside, I am an unfortunate member of the ‘Knows Too Much’ Club. I know too much about the way decisions are made in a vacuum. I know too much about the platitudes that are cast on the State Coordinators and Local Coordinators. I know too much about the massive amounts of money spent on “bridges to nowhere” Like the CNN/SRLC Debate, The TPP Website and the excessive travel that goes on by the ‘entourage’ with little forethought or objective. I know too much about the lack of interest in disclosing important details about this organization that would cast it in a proper light.
Some personal examples include
- The TPP Website Fiasco. I was brought on in part due to my experience building successful web based training platforms. I predicted the failure of this website in July, 2011, within a month of joining TPP. I made suggestions and issued concerns that fell on deaf ears. I pointed out in August that Orange Hat Group was inexperienced in producing a website for our organization. One of my concerns was a lack of any information about them. I also saw a lack of wisdom demonstrated by their lack of generally accepted web development strategy. Their website http://www.orangehatgroup.com/ didn’t exist in August and still doesn’t today. A web developer without a website? REALLY? For half a year? Could there be any correlation why we have such an unfettered disaster? When the so called Beta version ofwww.teapartypatriots.orgwas launched in October, 2011, I tried to take it upon myself to improve the website when I saw such slow progress and a severely missed target. I was slammed at each attempt. I made a google group http://groups.google.com/group/tppbetabunch?hl=en to communicate what the grassroots wanted and was reprimanded for it. If you look at the site’s usage analytics, I bet it would look like a nose- diving airplane. Currently the site is of dubious value and a relative ghost town as a result. This negates the value of ANY marketing expenditures we make to ‘drive’ traffic to the website- Like the failed SRLC ‘co- sponsorship’ of the Presidential Debate in South Carolina. Our recent Bounce rate or number of people who leave the site without doing anything is about 20% higher than what is considered acceptable given the opinion of industry experts. Our bounce rate is about 60% and 40% is considered acceptable. If you look at the way this issue is handled by the leadership of TPP (Jenny Beth Martin), you will find consistency in a sickening number of projects that TPP undertakes.
- Managing Personnel. I have had 4 bosses since I was hired. Mark Meckler was my first boss and I was proud to report to him. He kept me focused, on task, was an amazing mentor and things got done. Right. Since then, Kevin Mooneyhan became my boss for a short while. He was replaced by Jenny Beth Martin. I virtually never heard from Jenny Beth until one day she told me to start reporting to Scot Crockett. Scot and I have virtually never spoken. I have tried to get email and phone responses from him and he consistently did not respond to my email or phone messages requesting advise, permission or direction.
- a. Mark Meckler – In my opinion one of the most talented, trustworthy, articulate visionaries of the Tea Party movement has been pushed out in a political coup that resulted in Jenny Beth Martin retaining complete control of the corporation. Meckler has remained quiet and much to my surprise there has been little said by the grassroots to inquire about this massive shift and lack of intellectual capital. Maybe it is because there are no more followers and only the last few standing has not noticed the evolution?
- Projects. When I was hired I shared my vision for a training program that would be useful to grow and train the grassroots members of TPP. I have not been authorized to execute any of the outlines I have created for the Getting Started program, the Are you a Patriot? Program and the Best Practices section of the website. I was either told that the budget to complete the project was not approved, the project was changed, or I was completely ignored. Please accept as a sad letter of resignation. It is with a heavy heart that I realize that my continuation in this organization will not serve TPP, The Grassroots nor myself. I sincerely hope that Tea Party Patriots is not what I think it is and it can return to being a watch dog and unified voice for the citizens of America to hold our elected officials accountable to the will of the people. I remain committed to the cause and thrilled to help any way I can. Please feel free to call or email me at any time.