(Elizabeth Crum) – Wowza. Debbie Landis, a Tea Party uber activist-organizer — she is the founder of a 501(c)4 and website called AngerIsBrewing.com and the organizer of last Friday’s debate in Reno — is rather displeased with the Angle-endorsing Tea Party Express (TPE) peeps right now.
Seems TPE sent out a press release “defending” Anger is Brewing from a “whisper campaign” without bothering to name their source, verify their facts or get a comment from Landis. And it seems Landis thinks the press release is more of a smear than any kind of support. First, the TPE missive:
Tea Party Express Statement Defending Anger Is Brewing from Whisper Campaign
“Over the past few days we here at the Tea Party Express have heard several different rumors seeking to discredit the Anger Is Brewing organization, which has been active in the Nevada tea party movement.
“These rumors allege that the Anger Is Brewing organization has decided to sell out its endorsement for U.S. Senate to candidate John Chachas after Chachas made a $3,500 contribution to the Anger Is Brewing organization.
“This is obviously a false and malicious attempt by some people to smear and defame Anger is Brewing leader, Debbie Landis, and the organization as a whole.
“Obviously Ms. Landis would not sell her endorsement for a candidate in exchange for $3,500. We’ve worked with her and know that she has higher ethical standards than this.
“Furthermore, John Chachas is obviously not a candidate that would earn tea party movement support. In the last presidential election, Chachas was a contributor to Barack Obama’s presidential campaign (contributing $2,300 of his personal funds to Obama). And Chachas made no friends in the conservative-aligned tea party movement when he smeared Sharron Angle by calling her too conservative.
“Anyone who thinks that a candidate who follows the constitution is ‘too conservative’ is obviously not going to be taken seriously by the tea party movement.
“In the race for Senate there are many important issues that should be discussed by the candidates who have asked for our votes. We should focus on these issues and reject any attempts by various camps to smear those involved in the tea party movement who have sacrificed their time, energy and personal money to fight for this country.”
Landis says Chachas gave Anger Is Brewing $3,000 to help pay for insurance costs associated with the Carson City Tax Day Tea Party, but that he donated nothing to the candidate debate in Reno. Chachas and numerous other candidates spoke at the Tea Party on April 15th, and Landis says he received no special benefit for his donation.
“How dare anyone insinuate that I am for sale?” Landis fumed.
Landis says she believes the TPE press release was, at best, a thinly veiled attempt to perpetuate a rumor and smear both she and Chachas under the guise of “defending” her.
“Why aren’t these accusations against me quoted or sourced?” asked Landis. “I am outraged that they would send out a press release with false, unsourced information and not even come to me for a comment.”
Landis admits she likes and supports Chachas personally, but says Anger Is Brewing has not and will not endorse any candidate and that she merely wants Nevada voters to make up their own minds without outside interference from out-of-state groups like TPE.
“The arrogance of this Tea Party Express press release surely demonstrates the impotence they feel in trying to influence Nevada politics from the outside,” says Landis. “It’s desperate, it’s disgusting, and it’s politics as usual.”
Joe Wierzbicki, a spokesperson for the Tea Party Express, had the following to say (these are excerpts from an email he sent me in response to my inquiry):
Our release today came in response to several calls we’ve received from local tea party activists (starting yesterday) who were furious that they claimed that Anger Is Brewing was trying to organize a group endorsement of John Chachas. And we were sent the TV clip where Chachas said he gave $3,500 to Anger Is Brewing as part of the proof. The accusation made to us was that the endorsement was sold out for money. Of course a lot of this is he-said, she-said rumor stuff which frequently happens in political campaigns like this.
We said to those who have contacted us that this had to be a joke just to smear Debbie and Anger Is Brewing by various campaigns.
We get rumors here all the time, including smears of us…
I have to say that Debbie’s response to our press release surprised me.
She’s always been very down on Sue Lowden, but surely she’s not serious about backing John Chachas? A Wall Street millionaire who didn’t even live in Nevada before deciding to run for Senate, gave money to Obama and now attacks Angle for being too “right wing” when clearly the candidates who emerged from the tea party movement were Sharron Angle and Bill Parson.
So I’m a bit confused at Debbie’s comments, but she should know we are fans of the work she has done in the tea party movement in Nevada.
And I’m quite sure no one in the tea party movement could possibly be serious about doing a push for Chachas.
Landis says that last statement is an example of the type of outsider arrogance that irritates her.
“I think John Chachas is an excellent option for Nevada, maybe even our new Scott Brown,” says Landis.