Skip to main content

Tea Party Express Rally in Traverse City, Michigan on April 10, 2010
Another dupe of the Koch brothers.
For many on the left, the idea that there was a spontaneous uprising of American patriots concerned by the out-of-control growth of our government has been bunk from the outset. We based that on the simple observation that there was an awful lot of awfully big money behind making sure that people went to teabagger rallies and that those rallies got a disproportionate amount of media attention. In a word, it was clearly astroturf. A new academic study confirms what we knew all along, and far more: "Rather than being a purely grassroots movement that spontaneously developed in 2009, the Tea Party has developed over time, in part through decades of work by the tobacco industry and other corporate interests."

The full study is behind a paywall, but Brendan DeMelle, writing at Huffington Post has the details.

Far from a genuine grassroots uprising, this astroturf effort was curated by wealthy industrialists years in advance. Many of the anti-science operatives who defended cigarettes are currently deploying their tobacco-inspired playbook internationally to evade accountability for the fossil fuel industry's role in driving climate disruption.

The study, funded by the National Cancer Institute of the National Institute of Health, traces the roots of the Tea Party's anti-tax movement back to the early 1980s when tobacco companies began to invest in third party groups to fight excise taxes on cigarettes, as well as health studies finding a link between cancer and secondhand cigarette smoke. [...]

The two main organizations identified in the UCSF Quarterback study are Americans for Prosperity and Freedomworks. Both groups are now "supporting the tobacco companies' political agenda by mobilizing local Tea Party opposition to tobacco taxes and smoke-free laws." Freedomworks and Americans for Prosperity were once a single organization called Citizens for a Sound Economy (CSE). CSE was founded in 1984 by the infamous Koch Brothers, David and Charles Koch, and received over $5.3 million from tobacco companies, mainly Philip Morris, between 1991 and 2004.

The Kochs clearly hate clean air. The study also reveals that, as far back as 2002, the Kochs and tobacco-backed CSE had well developed plans for creating a Tea Party, including a website under the domain name, which is currently owned by FreedomWorks. The site was taken down in 2011. The study also reveals that the Kochs and their astroturf organizations are now working internationally, training activists in more than two dozens countries including Israel, Georgia, Japan and Serbia.

If there's a Rupert Murdoch-owned broadcast network in any of these countries to provide the kind of support Fox News provided to the astroturfers here, they'll probably succeed. Here's a question for American tea partiers now, though: Will they stick around if they find out they've been duped into being pawns for Big Tobacco and Big Oil?

Originally posted to Joan McCarter on Mon Feb 18, 2013 at 01:07 PM PST.

Also republished by American Legislative Transparency Project and Daily Kos.

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

a gilas girl, Sharon, Ed in Montana, Doug in SF, Mimikatz, Sylv, Joe Willy, Bill in Portland Maine, grollen, Jackson L Haveck, Better Days, Gooserock, Emerson, alicia, Shockwave, Heimyankel, Sherri in TX, Andrew C White, eeff, Pompatus, devtob, Joe B, exNYinTX, hnichols, bookbear, Creosote, susakinovember, ask, mrblifil, chimpy, Ignacio Magaloni, retLT, oceanview, Nate Roberts, wader, Redfire, slippytoad, psnyder, Nag, TexDem, Eyesbright, Boppy, dwahzon, Bluehawk, defluxion10, lcrp, Brian82, Donna in Rome, Major Kong, ybruti, randallt, JayDean, lyvwyr101, vacantlook, rolet, Josiah Bartlett, Gowrie Gal, rapala, Skennet Boch, marina, NoMoreLies, el dorado gal, UncleCharlie, subtropolis, myeye, stagemom, Brooke In Seattle, YucatanMan, Dobber, Laurence Lewis, fixxit, eru, owlbear1, Sun Tzu, GreyHawk, jane123, AnotherMassachusettsLiberal, Savvy813, Blu Gal in DE, Pluto, psyched, Alan Arizona, zozie, Jim P, begone, alrdouglas, Tranny, esquimaux, hlee1169, Ranchita, Captain Sham, irishwitch, golem, flying shams, myboo, Kingsmeg, cybersaur, DiogenesTheElder, BlueInARedState, cookseytalbott, seefleur, arlene, aloevera, gpoutney, SadieSue, MarciaJ720, onionjim, CA Nana, BB10, Stripe, Temmoku, OHdog, BentLiberal, Babylon, Cronesense, blue armadillo, camlbacker, gloriana, linkage, yoduuuh do or do not, karmsy, FishOutofWater, Mary Mike, flumptytail, joedemocrat, newpioneer, rantsposition, Aunt Martha, sable, TomP, Empower Ink, 123man, rogerdaddy, jack 1966, Sixty Something, Foundmyvoice, elwior, Laughing Vergil, Akonitum, Its any one guess, Calamity Jean, tofumagoo, Jeff Y, sewaneepat, luckylizard, allie123, statsone, diomedes77, Dirtandiron, Carol in San Antonio, Don Enrique, Nebraskablue, War on Error, jennylind, earicicle, oxfdblue, winkk, PhotogHog, sfarkash, Larsstephens, RickinStLouis, Railfan, commonmass, marabout40, FogCityJohn, The Jester, mookins, dagnome, RJP9999, Eddie L, pixxer, ItsSimpleSimon, DiegoUK, Jaimas, SoonerG, ffour, Betty Pinson, annieli, Maximilien Robespierre, kerflooey, Bluefin, slowbutsure, Mistral Wind, asterkitty, CoExistNow, PorridgeGun, blackjackal, zenox, Mentatmark, Auriandra, I C Mainer, Azazello, Mathazar, Rejoinder, BlueDragon, IowaBiologist, AnnetteK, livingthedream, quill, chmood, OldDragon, Williston Barrett, orpurple, a2nite, JGibson, This old man, Free Jazz at High Noon, Arahahex, sexgenderbody, arizonablue, marty marty, T C Gibian, dotdash2u, wasatch, ShoshannaD, quillsinister, Stude Dude, nomandates, desert rain, countwebb, Herodotus Prime, aresea, Yo Bubba, Alhambra, BlueEyed In NC, Orcas George, Demeter Rising, Kay Observer2, pipercity1, skepticalcitizen, RUNDOWN, WithHoney, Oldestsonofasailor, H E Pennypacker, OldSoldier99, citylights, Capt Crunch

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site