I got this email today from a friend who lives in Arizona. The group seems to be soliciting writers from other blogs:
We have some very exciting news for you! We are launching the new historic Tea Party News Network soon and are looking for many bloggers nationwide to write daily stories for us. You must support the principles of limited government, free markets and personal responsibility of the tea party movement. The Tea Party News Network will consist of a vast network of bloggers, daily email breaking news and live stream television to bring the real news to the American people.
Bloggers will compensated for each blog they write that we use. Compensation will be based on the bloggers experience and other factors. The best bloggers can eventually be given a full time position based on the quality of their previous work.
If you are interested, please send a cover letter why you believe you would make a good blogger for the tea party movement and a history of your experience and background to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please also send a sample of some of your blogs and/or writings. New bloggers will be considered also.
Together we will help save America.
This sounds like one of those, “We’d like you to be involved if only you’ll give us your personal info” schemes. To begin with I suspect the Tea Party ties. Anyone can say they are affiliated with them. Second, they say that bloggers will be compensated. That is a suspicious come-on to me. Millions of bloggers are willing to write for sites they agree with without any compensation. This site is a prime example.
Then, Googling Todd Cefratti’s name I found these: Revealed: JoinTheTeaParty.us took $469,000 in donations, spent none of it on candidates. It says:
A website run out of Arizona, ostensibly to support the so-called tea party movement, is under scrutiny after a local news organization dug into their finances and ownership, only to find what some may characterize as a remarkable scam.
According to Federal Election Commission (FEC) disclosure forms, JoinTheTeaParty.us took in approximately $469,000 in donations this year and spent roughly half its budget on marketing, with the rest going to distinctly non-political avenues.
In fact, according to CBS 5 in Phoenix, there’s no evidence the group spent so much as a dime to promote tea party candidates or related events.
FEC forms pulled by CBS affiliate show the group spent nearly $200,000 on search engine optimization and Google sponsorship, along with Facebook ads promoting their website. Submitting a Google search for “tea party” returned with the site atop the list of results.
They even advertised the site on Craigslist, with an impassioned appeal to “patriots” who may be sympathetic to conservative causes. Ironically enough, the ad states numerous times that this group in particular is a “marketing campaign” with a fundraising goal of $500,000 per week.
The domain is owned by Todd Cefaratti, an Arizona businessman with a background in data collection. His other business specializes in mining contact information and reselling the leads to clients in the reverse mortgage industry.”