The Tea Party movement has a lot of passion, but it doesn’t have much money to back it up, which could doom its ambition to play a major role in American politics. The activists haven’t been able to pull in any wealthy donors, and the rank-and-file protesters view the very idea of fundraising as unseemly or corrupt, Politico explains. Many national groups have fallen well short of their goals, and those that haven’t, like Tea Party Express, are often viewed with suspicion by the rest of the movement.
“When you start chasing the money, you start having to compromise,” says the leader of two Florida groups—one of which is in the red. FEC records are littered with tea party groups that filed to form PACs, then disappeared, never reporting raising any money. “Most of these people are so new to the process that they don’t know anything beyond the protests,” says one conservative organizer, “but at the end of the day, the energy and passion will only take you so far.”