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Rogues of K Street: Confessions of a Tea Party Consultant
  • January 10, 2011 : 03:01
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Basel’s wingman, Stan Dai, is equally disarming. Except Dai served as an operations officer in a Department of Defense irregular-warfare fellowship program and may or may not have trained with the Israel Defense Forces. But Dai is a 24-year-old immigrant from China—he’s not exactly Jonathan Pollard. O’Keefe doesn’t have much to say. What he lacks in social skills he makes up for in creative genius and enormous balls.

Before Election Day there will be more stings. If you are part of a large organization with a vested interest in the Obama administration’s success, be afraid.

The inner core of Tea Party consultants I work with don’t like to see their names in the news, but we do enjoy a good dark bar. Nearly all are based far from the Beltway. Imagine the rooftop deck of a D.C. steakhouse with about 40 Tea Party celebrities. It’s not the stuffy crowd that usually congregates at Morton’s. Picture Breitbart holding court with donors in one corner and fake ACORN hooker Hannah Giles in another (too young to drink legally at the time), talking with the even younger doe-eyed, homeschooled daughter of a prominent activist. Though it had been a month since Washington’s last snowfall, the rooftop deck still had piles of snow, allowing Maura Flynn to start the first-ever snowball fight inside Morton’s bar. Welcome to my Tea Party party.

We make a sport out of confusing the press. I had fake business cards printed to give to reporters. I watched a reporter walk out of a Conservative Political Action Conference reception in mid-February with a fistful of my faux business cards. Feeling a little guilty I told him not to file a story immediately because it would be guaranteed to be dead wrong. He finally published it a month later, after one of our friends charitably spent three hours with him.

At the Tea Party convention in Nashville I was photographed by The Washington Post while meeting with the inner sanctum, but the paper wasn’t able to identify us in the caption. The picture captured my chin and arm and my colleague with a mouthful of hamburger as we listened to an Andrzejewski campaign staffer explain why he knows how to run a campaign better. A local blog described him a couple of years ago as a "radically right-wing psychopath." That was generous. In reality he’s an Allstate IT guy who should not be allowed near tequila, sharp objects or a campaign.

Causing mayhem is not limited to dealing with the press. We’ve quietly acquired Service Employees International Union shirts to wear at Tea Party rallies. For big labor, that’s like handing out TSA uniforms in Kabul. And at a rally in St. Louis this March, fake SEIU protesters joined the Tea Party protest.

Various Republican congressional leaders met for hours with our leadership and our finance team in the Richard Nixon suite at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington. Never in my career had I had a congressman look me in the eyes behind closed doors and say with such sincerity, "Give me a list of what you need me to do." The second meeting drew 10 congressmen. There we sat, inside the Capitol Hill Club (which shares the building that houses the Republican National Committee), sharing ideas on how we can work together. The third meeting drew 17 congressmen. We’ll see help with fundraising and research from friendly members of Congress. It’s what you won’t see that’s more important. Our role is to quietly help a dozen grassroots conservative candidates win in the fall, using traditional and nontraditional means. If you don’t hear from us directly, we will have done our job.

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