A large group of tea party organizations have rejected a new Arizona license plate that is meant to commemorate the movement and help fund it.
Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer (R) approved the new "tea party" license plates in April, along with 10 other special plates. The "tea party" license plate features the historic "Don't Tread on Me" yellow Gadsden Flag, which has become a symbol of the movement.
In a statement issued Friday, the tea party groups said the state appointed and supervised board that issues the "tea party" license plates and distributes the sale proceeds to tea party organizations was exactly the type of big government the movement opposed.
Annette McHugh, Arizona State Coordinator for Tea Party Patriots, said the new license plates were "well-intentioned" but "have subjected Arizona tea parties to unfounded scrutiny questioning our commitment and adherence to the foundational principles of the tea party movement."
The statement warned that the "tea party" license plates put the movement at risk of becoming dependent on government-generated funds.
"The structure of disbursement of funds raised by this government sponsored venture is vulnerable to self-serving individuals who may be appointed to the state-established Tea Party Committee, in addition to the potential misappropriation of funds to be used for purposes other than what SB1402 designates," said Valerie Roller, representing the Tea Party Patriots of Glendale. "These 'tea party' license plates have resulted in more government, not less."