Tea Party Nonprofits Helping Swing Elections

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October 23, 2010; Source: Gazette Times | There are various Tea Party connections to the nonprofit sector, as we’ve detailed in our “Starfish and the Tea Party” series Part I, Part II, and Part III. Sometimes the nonprofit links are personal and political, such as the nonprofit background of candidate Art Robinson running against Congressman Pete DeFazio in Oregon’s 4th district.

Running as a Republican, Robinson is a favorite of Tea Partiers around the country, particularly because of his performance during an interview with MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow. On the personal side, he runs the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine, a 501(c)(3), where he presides (with his two scientist sons who serve on the board of directors) over an agenda including attacking global warming as a human-caused phenomenon. He was a major activist behind the Petition Project, which purportedly enlisted 31,000 scientists to challenge the concept of human-caused global warming on scientific grounds.

Robinson holds some other, one might say, interesting scientific ideas, including in 2003 recommending storing nuclear waste in the concrete foundations and insulation of homes and buildings, based on the idea that diluted nuclear radiation is actually good for people, and putting nuclear waste in people’s homes creates a “hermetic” radiation dose.

Also a homeschooling advocate (the Institute produces homeschooling materials on science), Robinson holds other interesting perspectives on some topics. This one on education: “Public education (tax-financed socialism) has become the most widespread and devastating form of child abuse and racism in the United States.”

The other “nonprofit” connected to Robinson is Concerned Taypayers of America, a PAC that is on record financing ads against only two candidates, both Democratic Congressmen, Peter DeFazio in Oregon and Frank Kratovil in Maryland. The Washington PAC has only two contributors, New York hedge fund executive Robert Mercer and the Owing Mills, Md. concrete firm Daniel G. Schuster, Inc.

How did they pick Robinson as one of their two political beneficiaries? Although not identified as a Tea Party PAC, Concerned Taxpayers may be one of many small, selective conservative PACs, (c)(4)s, and others putting 6-figure sums into a very small number of races. We will only know their range and financing well after the election is over, constituting another dimension of the Tea Party’s national and local infrastructure.—Rick Cohen

  • Jeff Barnes

    One possible reason Mercer picked this race is because at all Peter DeFazio’s recent town-hall meetings, DeFazio blamed this recession on hedge fund traders.
    While Mercer may not live in district 4, Peter DeFazio’s power as a congressman do effect him. If I was a hedge fund trader, I might be angry enough for being blamed to oppose Peter DeFazio.