Complaint against “NE Tarrant County Tea Party” (501c4)

The Fort-Worth Star-Telegram article, “In Grapevine, a Tea Party leader says no to — Methodists?”, was received detailing potentially unethical activity by the “NE Tarrant County Tea Party” 501c(4) non-profit (Julie McCarty, President).

1) The NETCTP supported Cook for the race on a “slate card” simply listing names without explanation.
2) The President of NETCTP wrote on Facebook that she chose the candidate, Cook, because he was a Baptist, as Methodists (i.e. Hase’s denomination) are too liberal.
3) The President of NETCTP deleted the Facebook posting describing the decision-making process.
4) The Tarrant County Bar Association poll among its members gave the following rankings for the candidates: Cook (64% no response, 7% “well qualified”, 19% “qualified”, 10% “not qualified”), Hase (58% no response, 27% “well qualified”, 12% “qualified”, 4% “not qualified”), and Young (41% no response, 36% “well qualified”, 18% “qualified”, 5% “not qualified”).

15 thoughts on “Complaint against “NE Tarrant County Tea Party” (501c4)”

  1. Instructions for Referees:
    1) Feel free to request more information.
    2) The measure for a “foul” is whether or not a significant number of voters would have selected a different candidate if they had accurate information.

  2. The NETCTP lists the following as their priorities:

    What We Believe
    Promoting constitutional governance in every precinct in our districts, one voter at a time.
    We believe in…
    Personal responsibility
    Fiscal responsibility
    Limited government
    Rule of law
    National sovereignty
    Traditional two-party system

  3. The information above appears to indicate that the NETCTP used religious denomination to decide between two candidates while their organization makes no overt reference to religion, not to mention a specific denomination. An outside observer, such as a voter being handed a slate card from which to vote, will be unaware of the religious denomination portion of the candidate selection process even if they researched the organization prior to voting.

  4. For estimating the effect on whether an overtly Baptist Tea Party would have affected the selection of candidates, here are two sources:
    1) white evangelicals (Baptists) support the tea party by 44% versus 30% of white mainline Protestants (Methodists) []
    2) the distribution of these groups in the Tarrant County population is 36% Baptist versus 13% Methodist []

  5. Can someone check my math?

    If X tea party supporters are voting, it consists of (P*.36*.44+P*.13*.30)f=X, where P is the voting population, and f is the turnout factor among Tea Party voters. If we include the other religions, Catholicism and other, the equation would become:

    An openly Baptist Tea Party would only retain the first probability as responding to the slate cards with unconditional approval.

  6. Accurate information was missing on the slate card by simply listing names without explaining the reason (religious affiliation of both McCarty and 36% majority Baptist community of NE Tarrant County).

    We caught a glipse of McCarty’s reason on her Facebook page before the post was taken down, explaining how all Methodists are liberal and support “women pastors and gay worshipers” according to her post.

    The fact that she took down her post made it obvious that she might alienate other voters who might share her political views of…
    “Personal responsibility, Fiscal responsibility, Limited government, Rule of law, National sovereignty, Traditional two-party system”
    but yet may not necessarily share her views on religious affiliation. And seems obvious to me that she deliberately didn’t explain this to the voters.

    No reason at all on the slate card on candidate qualification. No drunk driving records, military service, voting background, etc. All that Don had on him was his religious affiliation and McCarty didn’t like it.

    I say foul.

  7. I’m having a difficult time making up my mind about this one. On one hand, it’s obvious from McCarty’s Facebook post that she used religious affiliation as her deciding factor in casting her vote for Cook. (And her deleting it says to me that she realized this was a mistake.) On the other hand, despite it not being stated in the political views of NETCTP, religious affiliation may be implied. I can see where McCarty would want to appear religiously impartial under any official NETCTP letterhead, but privately, as in her own Facebook feed, may hold a completely different opinion. My real question comes down to this: How likely is her opinion to actually change anyone’s vote? Does anyone that’s a member of NETCTP not know that it’s implicitly a religious organization? Or at least that religion is part of its litmus test for political candidacy? Given her Facebook posts, I find it hard to believe that McCarty’s religion isn’t an obvious and important part of her life. Aren’t the people that follow her, at least in private, and if not in public, certainly going to know this?

    Personally, I think it’s a foul, and I’m willing to vote that way, but I very seriously doubt many voters would change their mind based on her organization’s opinion.

  8. NETCTP distributes thousands of the slate cards to voters at the polls who are sympathetic but not members of NETCTP. As the equation above shows, a number of these voters will be from other religious denominations.

  9. This is definitely a tough one. Do we know what the selection process entails?
    Is the selection based solely on the president’s religious preferences, or are there other factors that influenced the decision? If there were multiple persons in charge of the decision, and other qualities that made Cook the favored candidate, then the personal reason revealed and then retracted by the president had less of an impact on the vote.

    Also, would many voters have changed their vote had religion remained listed as the deciding factor on McCarty’s Facebook page?

  10. Elizabeth Jensen

    I’ve thought about Tori’s concerns. Here are two options:
    1) Their slate cards should have an explanation for how candidates judged (then we could inquire documentation that they actually followed their own guidelines should a complaint arise)
    2) I could sent a certified letter requesting all their documentation for how they picked the final candidates in he slate card.

    Which do you guys like better?

  11. Update: the deadlines cannot apply in the particular race under discussion because it is not under competition anymore. There are no other parties nor write-ins in the race. The new deadline is being shifted to two weeks _after_ the election to allow the NETTP time to go through their records.

  12. Note: the NETTP is failing to accept the certified letter. This will automatically default to its being placed on the Wall of Shame as this demonstrates that it fails to accept responsibility in receiving official communications regarding its operations affecting voters.

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