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Tea Party Convention Organizers Launch PAC, Will Consider Taking Lobbyist Cash

NASHVILLE – At an alternately blunt and blustery press conference, National Tea Party Convention organizers Judson Phillips and Mark Skoda declared that they had credentialed 200 reporters and sold tickets to 600 attendees — with 500 more tickets sold for Sarah Palin’s Saturday night speech. (At least 100 of those reporters huddled around to ask questions.)

“We were contacted by at least a dozen networks from Germany,” said Phillips, offering one measure of the media’s interest.

Image has not been found. URL: http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4017/4332551067_73b20d0d52.jpgJudson Phillips speaks to the press. (Photo by David Weigel)

In a conversation before the presser, Luke Livingston, the director of Tea Party: the Documentary Film, credited Skoda with turning around the “bad PR” and opening up the convention. When Skoda took the stage he unleashed a long monologue about the values and strength of the movement before announcing the formation of the Ensuring Liberty corporation and Ensuring Liberty PAC. It would be incorporated in “the heartland of America, Memphis, Tennessee,” and would employ a team that wasn’t yet assembled but might include “former K street people” who wanted to change the way Washington worked.

Skoda was peppered with questions on what money the PAC would accept. Corporate money? Yes. Lobbyist money? “We’ll determine that.” One thing that Skoda made crystal clear was that he and the Tea Party Convention “

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