FreedomWorks Says Jump, Tea Partiers Ask How High

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Lately, there’s been an ongoing debate about the Tea Party groups that have been fighting health-care reform. Are these groups organic manifestations of popular discontent, or are they in fact controlled by corporate-funded Washington lobbying groups — in particular, FreedomWorks, the small-government organization, founded by former GOP congressman Dick Armey, that’s worked closely with the Tea Baggers since their inception?

Well, an excerpt from the Tea Baggers’ own internal discussions, obtained by TPMmuckraker, sheds some light on that point — and it points to the latter.

Back in June, members of the Tea Party Patriots were batting around ideas for a logo to be used for an upcoming Tea Party protest in Washington on September 12. One Tea Partier sent links to some designs he had made, and other members offered positive and negative feedback.

But the discussion was soon cut short by Amy Kremer, the Tea Party Patriot national coordinator who last month refused to condemn racist emailer and Tea Partier David McKalip. Kremer told the group:

Hey All,
Not to be a pain, but this is not Tea Party Patriots logo to change. This is FreedomWorks logo and they have said they are keeping the original design. I do not know why this discussion is continuing.

If anyone feels that the logo needs to be changed, then you need to contact FreedomWorks directly. TPP (Jenny Beth) has already conatcted (sic) them and shared their response with everyone.

TPP is not going to contact them again about the issue.

In that FreedomWorks response, forwarded to the group a few days earlier by Jenny Beth and also obtained by TPMmuckraker, Brendan Steinhauser, an organizer for the corporate-backed group, explained that FreedomWorks would stick with its original logo, which shows raised fists in front of the Capitol building, in part because “the left (Keith Olbermann and Josh Marshall) thinks we don’t understand the connotations of the symbol, which we do.”

In other words, it’s pretty clear who’s calling the shots for the Tea Partiers next big event.

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