I financially support causes and candidates and the Republican Party. I am a person of modest means and do not have a lot of money to spend, but I do what I can. When I give, I want to know that my contribution is being used effectively and for the purpose for which I intended it. I don't always know that. Recently I got a solicitation from Patriots for Economic Freedom asking me to contribute to them to support the Tim Scott campaign. Tim Scott is someone I really want to see reelected. I almost contributed, but did a little research first and found out that the race in South Carolina is virtually over. Scott only has token opposition in the Republican primary and the most prominent Democrat running dropped out, leaving Scott with an unknown city councilman who will be his Democrat opponent. (link) Patriots for Economic Freedom made it sound like he would lose the election if I did not contribute.
The Washington Post has done an expose' of Tea Party Patriots and their campaign spending. Tea Party Patriots is supporting challenger Matt Bevin in Kentucky who is attempting to unseat Mich McConnell. So far Tea Party Patriots have only spend $56,000 directly on Bevin's behalf and it has spend twice that much on consulting fees to Beth Martin, president of the Tea Party Patriots.
In looking at combined spending of several tea party political action committees, the reporter found that, "Out of the $37.5 million spent so far by the PACs of six major tea party organizations, less than $7 million has been devoted to directly helping candidates, according to the analysis, which was based on campaign finance data provided by the Sunlight Foundation."
I know that it cost money to raise money and people who work full time promoting the cause of conservatism deserve to make a decent income, but I sometime feel that some people are more interested in building there own little fiefdom and lining their own pockets than they are getting conservatives elected. While this article focused on tea party organizations, I don't doubt that is just as bad on left.
Political organizations are not the only ones with people raising money to line their own pockets and increase their own power at the expense of supporting the cause. Televangelist have been guilty of this and it has been exposed time and tiem again. Trinity Broadcasting Network's Paul and Jan Croch had a opulent lifestyle, with several multimillion dollar mansions throughout the world, private jets and all the luxuries one could imagine. To think of lonely elderly people living on social security sacrificing and scrimping to send money to Trinity Broadcasting to do the lord's work and the money going to support the decadent lifestyle of the Croches sickens me. The Croch's may be an extreme example but there were plenty of others in the field of big religion doing the same thing.
While not a lot of non-profits have out and out charlatans like the Croch's taking advantage of people, lots of non-profits have high overhead. Whether it is religious organizations, charities, or political causes, there will always be people who are mismanaging money, exaggerating and lying and manipulating to encouraging contributions, and people more concerned with building their own power base and lining their own pockets than they are with supporting the stated cause.
The conservative movement and good candidates need our support. I encourage people to put their money where there mouth is and financially support the cause. We all need to think, however, before we give. Don't be swayed by emotional appeals. Do some research before you give. Give to established organizations you know can trust. If one wants to see Mitch McConnell defeated they would be better off giving directly to his opponent than funding consulting fees for the President of Tea Party Patriots.