I have never been a fan of the Tea Party Express. It has always been my opinion that it is a scam and a handful of political consultants and minor Conservative Pundits have gotten rich off of it. Their most memorable political stunt was ginning up thousands of people to descend on Searchlight Nevada when Harry Reid was Senate Majority Leader.
From time to time there have been articles written about PACs and how they spend 90% or more of their funds on Salaries, etc. The Tea Party Express and Move America Forward PAC (pretty much the same group) are two such PACs that have been similarly assailed.
One of the reasons for my disdain of the Tea Party has been the existence of leeches like these and no willingness within the movement to police itself. (See also Antifa and others on the left that arose out of the netroots)
Any simple research will reveal that the Tea Party movement has splintered in to several pieces and a whole lot of people have gotten rich off of it.
It appears that the founders of the The Tea Party Express and Move America Forward PAC’s had a non-profit they were using as a front (my opinion) to make even more money off of “supporting the troops”. Because Xavier Becerra has presidential ambitions like Gavin Newsom – he is looking to make a name for himself. This is why he has been trying to prosecute David Dadelien or James O’Keefe. It makes sense why Xavier would go after MAF PAC.
That said, MAF PAC is a scam (my opinion) and Xavier is right to attack them. However, if Xavier prosecutes rather than sues MAF PAC, then almost every Soros-backed group would be vulnerable to prosecution too. It is the age old question about legally sanctioned unethical behavior.
The Sacramento Bee, being the reliable political harlots for the left broke the story – ostensibly after Xavier’s office made sure they had advanced notice. (This is standard practice for prosecutors)
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra filed a lawsuit on Wednesday against a Sacramento nonprofit that sends care packages to troops, alleging that the organization misled donors and its directors misused charity money for political purposes.
The lawsuit against Move America Forward alleges that the organization violated Internal Revenue Services regulations because its two directors, Sal Russo and Shawn Callahan, managed separate for-profit groups that “charged fees for services” provided to the nonprofit.
Becerra argues that the charity engaged in “deceitful solicitation gimmicks,” which he said included using photographs from other organizations, advertising a veteran’s story without his permission and plagiarizing information from other nonprofit campaigns.
For years – your intrepid blogger has railed on “Tea Party Leech PACS” that send out tons of spam emails or have people posting stuff on social media and/or sending spam texts trying to piggy back on campaigns. While I have no direct proof, it has been put to me several times that Mr. Russo and others have gotten rich off of the Tea Party Express PAC. It appears that similar to so many others living high on the hog in ethically questionable endeavors, they could not stop at just leeching off of the Tea Party. They appear to have created vendors in order to strip-mine even more money out of the Non Profit for themselves.
I’ve seen hundreds of fundraising emails including a US Senate Special election in New Jersey (hopeless for a Republican) which was Cory Booker’s original election. The Tea Party Express / Move America Forward PAC’s would endorse people and then fund raise off of these high-profile campaigns. Some Republican candidates have been quoted over the years expressing their irritation that these PAC’s were creating confusion and hindering their own fundraising!
I can’t wait to see what the legal discovery reveals related to the finances of Move America Forward. And, shame on them for making themselves an easy target for a piece of crap Attorney General looking for campaign material.
Russo, chief strategist for the nonprofit and a Sacramento County resident, allegedly diverted more than $1.8 million to his for-profit companies, according to the lawsuit. Callahan is the executive director. The suits also names Chairman Melanie Morgan and Director Howard Kaloogian as defendants.
Becerra’s office is alleging that the nonprofit also provided free office space for two political action committees called Move America Forward PAC and the Tea Party Express. The suit also claims charity assets were used to support candidates endorsed by the committees.
According to its website, Move America Forward has sent more than 388 tons of packages to troops “directly from American citizens affirming their support and providing some comforts from home.”
I met Howard Kaloogian in 2004. I’ve met Melanie Morgan a couple times, and she did not have time for me or others in the room. She also reminded me of Karen England. (someone whose scams I have written about for years – including diverting a ton of money from the Prop 8 effort) Kaloogian was an also-ran candidate for US Senate and by virtue of my firsthand experience with him, I believe he is a playboy. (Yet another “conservative” who likes to get wasted at CAGOP Conventions and chase girls. And I saw this first hand)
A former Radio Talk Show Host Eric Hogue used to rail on Move America Forward / the Tea Party Express as a rival Talk Show DJ was in on the early days of it. your intrepid blogger has never stopped monitoring their activities even as both of these guys have moved on.
It is the opinion of this blogger that Melanie Morgan, Howard Kaloogian, Sal Russo and others that have been on the take from this Charity and the two PAC’s had better get good attorneys. I’ve maintained that this operation has been dirty from the beginning and how sad it is that Xavier Becerra gets to ride in to clean it up (while ignoring rampant corruption all over California’s Democrat Run Municipalities).
It is truly a case of mixed emotions for me as it has taken 15 years to see any level of accountability for what these people have done, and it comes in the form of Xavier Becerra trying to create a campaign platform for himself.