The Tea Party Patriots have had enough of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-NV) crusade against billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch. On Monday, the right-wing group filed a formal ethics complaint against Senator Reid, in which they called the Democrat’s campaign against the Kochs an “abuse of power.”
“It’s been generations since a member of the Senate has abused the power of his office to attack private citizens the way Harry Reid has sought to vilify Charles and David Koch,” said Tea Party Patriots co-founder Jenny Beth Martin.
As The Hill reports, the Tea Party Patriots claim in their complaint that Reid “misused Senate staff or resources to engage in partisan campaign activity in violation of federal laws and Senate rules.”
The group also accuses Reid of using his “mean-spirited” attacks as a means of “unlawfully and unethically targeting private citizens.”
The complaint comes after months of Reid’s very public criticism of the Koch brothers. Reid has openly called the right-wing businessmen “un-American,” and accused them of “rigging the system” and “trying to buy the country” by “dumping unseemly amounts of money” into politics.
Tea Party Patriots are not the first to slam Reid for his attacks; many critics have noted the senator’s more favorable views of other wealthy donors — like Republican billionaire Sheldon Adelson and Democratic businessmen George Soros and Tom Steyer — who have poured millions into politics. Reid has argued that a donor like Adelson is “not in this for the money,” unlike the Koch brothers, whom he believes use their money to ensure policies that benefit their business interests.
But the Tea Party Patriots are equally inconsistent in their own views. The sudden concern for “targeted private citizens” is a change of pace for the group that has launched its own attacks against “private citizen” Karl Rove, another wealthy Republican donor with a long history of spending in politics.
In fact, the original purpose of the Tea Party Patriots involved attacks on others: Tea Party Patriots was founded to advance the larger Tea Party movement’s battle against “establishment” GOP candidates in elections.
Reid is taking the Tea Party Patriots’ concerns as seriously as the Tea Party Patriots take ethics: not too seriously, to say the least.
“We are shocked — shocked! — that a publicity-seeking, extremist Tea Party group which has received hundreds of thousands of dollars from the Koch brothers’ secret bank would attempt a frivolous publicity stunt to distract from the Kochs’ efforts to rig the system for billionaires like themselves,” Adam Jentleson, a spokesman for Reid, responded, in a reference to the Tea Party Patriots’ connection to the Koch-backed Freedom Partners. “The shadowy, billionaire Koch brothers are pulling out all the stops to get Senator Reid to stop shining a light on their efforts to buy our democracy, but he will not be silenced.”
AFP Photo/Alex Wong
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