A for-profit Tea Party convention to be held next month, featuring Sarah Palin as the keynote speaker, is frustrating some conservative grassroots activists who can't afford the steep price tag, MSNBC's Rachel Maddow reported Monday night.
Maddow pointed to a recent article at Politico that reported Tea Party Nation, the convention's organizers, hope to turn a profit on the event in order to “funnel money back into conservative causes” through a political action committee. But the cost of admission -- $350 for the convention, $550 including the banquet featuring Palin -- is too high for some of the grassroots political activists hoping to attend, TalkingPointsMemo reporter Zachary Roth told Maddow.
Roth said he had spoken to a Tea Partier in Nashville, where the convention will be held, who told him she couldn't attend because of the cost, even though she wouldn't have to spend anything on travel and accommodations.
"The movement has billed itself as the working man and woman movement of America, so a lot of people are feeling like this is not consistent with that Tea Party ethos," Roth said.
"Charging people $500 plus the costs of travel and lodging to go to a 'National Tea Party Convention' run by a for profit group no one has ever heard of sounds as credible as an email from Nigeria promising me a million bucks if I fork over my bank account number," writes conservative blogger Erick Erickson at RedState.
"Tea partiers working at cross purposes," Maddow said. "Tea Party on Tea Party torpedoing."
Roth added that the concerns about the cost of the Nasvhille convention are acting as a "proxy" for other concerns about the movement -- such as the growing fear that the Republican Party is attempting to co-opt the movement for its own political purposes.
Roth noted that "there has never been some sort of original, pure Tea Party movement that has been free from this taint of politics and corporate money."
This video is from MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show, broadcast Jan. 11, 2010.