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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

West Palm group hits sour note with tea party



Marianne Moran Trouble is brewing among Florida’s tea parties.

A West Palm Beach-based group called Tea Party in Action is being criticized by other tea party groups who allege the organization is a front for the Republican Party of Florida and a hired gun for special interest groups in Tallahassee. The group’s executive director, Marianne Moran, dismisses the allegations.

The issue came to a head last week when Moran testified before a Senate committee on behalf of a bill to ban unions from using payroll deduction to collect dues.

“What does this bill have to do with Tea Party principle of limited government?’’ asked Henry Kelley, president of the Fort Walton Beach Tea Party, in a letter to senators. “I can’t see why a legislature focused on limited government in a right-to-work state wants to tell union people what to do with their paychecks.’’

Other tea party critics complain that while Moran appears in front of lawmakers promoting her organization and an alliance of 130 other conservative groups, she doesn’t speak for all tea party activists.

“Marianne Moran seems to be a tea party of one,’’ said Apryl Marie Fogel of Americans For Prosperity, the conservative advocacy group founded by the Koch brothers. “I don’t know anyone who has ever been to a meeting. She is one person who tries to sound like she is the spokesperson for the group.” More here.

[Last modified: Wednesday, April 20, 2011 9:42pm]


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