Tea Party Convention in Turmoil Over Costs, Palin

Internal disputes, profiteering concerns derail event
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 26, 2010 10:50 AM CST
Sarah Palin's speaking fee, reportedly $100,000, has outraged some tea partiers.   (AP Photo/Don Petersen)
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(Newser) – A much-ballyhooed Tea Party convention is coming apart, as the veteran protesters turn their rage on their own gathering. Sponsors and participants are pulling out, outraged over the enormous cost—tickets are a whopping $549, plus a $9.95 fee—and the $100,000 the convention is reportedly paying keynote speaker Sarah Palin. Some accuse Tea Party Nation, the group organizing the event of profiteering, though its founders tell the New York Times it's a nonprofit outfit.

“It’s hard for us not to assume the worst,” said the head of one tax protest group. The head of another conservative group said he was concerned about the involvement of RNC-affiliated groups like Tea Party Express and FreedomWorks. “At best, it creates the appearance of an RNC hijacking,” he said. “At worst, it is one.” He also said the organizers had asked his group to pay $2,200 to speak.

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