Man Behind Birthermercial First Teabagged In Mid-1970s

September 28, 2009 1:49 p.m.

The attorney behind the first-ever Birther infomercial started teabagging way before it was cool.

Back in the mid 1970s, Gary Kreep spearheaded a national tea bag-based movement to protest the Ford Administration’s tax policies, he confirmed to TPMmuckraker today.

“To protest unreasonably high taxes, people stapled tea bags to their tax returns,” explains Kreep, now director of the United States Justice Foundation, but then a law student and an officer in the California chapter of the Reaganite Young Americans for Freedom.When the the 2009 teabagger movement began to emerge earlier this year, Kreep thought: “It’s deja vu all over again.”

Check out this AP piece that ran in February 1975, 34 years to the month before CNBC’s Rick Santelli delivered his famous on-air anti-mortgage relief rant, thought to be the genesis of the 2009 teabaggers.

Kreep says he can’t remember who came up with the tea bag idea back then, but knows they had the 1773 protest in mind. He believes “a lot of people — tens of thousands of taxpayers” in fact sent in their tax returns with a teabag.

There were “little stickers on the tea bags that we handed out,” he says. One was red. Another was green. They said something like “Stop Taxes.”

Kreep and other activists who have attended tea parties this year have been discussing a reprise of the 1970s protest. But post-anthrax security measures have foiled the plans.

“Unfortunately, these days you cant get a tea bag to a congressman unless you hand it to them,” Kreep says.

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