Sal Russo and The Tea Party

More evidence that the Tea Party is, at its core, fake, hollow, whatever you want to call it. Shamelessly manipulating the rank-and-file, in other words.

Locked up Heart

Unlike many of the newly energized outsiders who have embraced Tea Party ideals, [Sal] Russo, 63, is a longtime Republican operative who got his start as an aide to Ronald Reagan and later raised money and managed media strategy for a string of other politicians, including former Gov. George E. Pataki of New York. His history and spending practices have prompted some former employees and other Tea Party activists to question whether he is committed to, or merely exploiting, their cause.

Mr. Russo’s group, based in California, is now the single biggest independent supporter of Tea Party candidates, raising more than $5.2 million in donations since January 2009, according to federal records. But at least $3 million of that total has since been paid to Mr. Russo’s political consulting firm or to one controlled by his wife, according to federal records.

While most of that money passed through the firms to cover advertising and other expenses, that kind of self-dealing raises red flags about possible lax oversight and excessive fees for the firms, campaign finance experts said.

“They are the classic top-down organization run by G.O.P. consultants, and it is the antithesis of what the Tea Party movement is about,” said Mark Meckler, a national spokesman for Tea Party Patriots, a coa

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Again, wouldn’t it be interesting if twenty years from now we read that the Tea Party was hollowed out from inside by FBI COINTELPRO style machinations?