Grifters Gotta Grift
Political grifting is a lucrative business. Groups like the Club for Growth, FreedomWorks and the Tea Party Patriots are run by men and women who have made millions by playing on the fears and anger about the dysfunction in Washington. My former House colleague Chris Chocola is pocketing a half-million dollars a year heading the Club for Growth; same for Matt Kibbe heading up FreedomWorks (and I don’t think Kibbe’s salary includes the infamous craft beer bar that FreedomWorks donors ended up paying for). The Tea Party Patriots pay their head, Jenny Beth Martin, almost as much. These people have lined their pockets by promising that if you send them money, they will send men and women to Washington who can “fix it.” Of course, in the ultimate con, the always extreme and often amateurish candidates these groups back either end up losing to Democrats or they come to Washington and actually make the process even more dysfunctional.
…which (to use a Bill Clinton-ism) takes some brass coming from LaTourette, who famously followed the trail Newt and Callista Gingrich blazed: he left his first wife after having an affair with an ex-staffer who became a lobbyist, who lobbied LaTourette to whom she was (then) married. LaTourette then left Congress to start a SuperPac. It’s a DC love story.
So it seems like LaTourette might be something of an expert in the field of grifters and slippery slopes, and now—as a sideline—he has picked up the throwing rocks at glass houses trade.
But, all that said, LaTourette has a point. The religion-imposing Tea Partiers, doing their Elmer Gantry best, are different from the LaTourettes. Bachmann, Gohmert, King et al are grifting their constituents for donations, while the old school conmen (like LaTourette) are grifting on behalf of their clients to get tax money from the Feds. His attempt to differentiate himself from the others seems like arguing over a shade of beige paint at the store: they are all grifters.