Months after the Tea Party Express — perhaps the most well-recognized branch of the tea party movement — claimed to have parted ways with controversial former chairman Mark Williams, records show it doled out nearly $5,000 to the conservative radio host and blogger.
Williams resigned from the Tea Party Express this summer after causing a minor civil war in the movement over a blog post aimed at the NAACP that many saw as racist. Williams had been an integral part of the Tea Party Express from the start, serving first as its chairman (he quit that job to turn his attention to shutting down Park51) and later as its national spokesperson and a fixture at stops along the group’s trademark bus tours.
Though Williams said he was leaving the tea party movement behind forever when he quit the Tea Party Express, he remained vocal in the movement on this blog and through the formation of a new tea party PAC. But after becoming the face of what some see as bigotry at the top levels of the tea party movement during the July fight between tea partiers and the NAACP, he largely faded from the scene.
He still got checks from the Tea Party Express, however. The Our Country Deserves Better PAC — a collection of former McCain/Palin ‘08 supporters that funds and operates the Tea Party Express — doled out nearly $5,000 to Williams just last month, according to a review of the PAC’s FEC reports by TPM.
The PAC paid Williams $4,800 on Sept. 2, according to FEC filings, for “PAC consulting wages.” Past FEC reports show that the Express’ last payment to Williams of $4,000 was made in May.
The Tea Party Express — which has spent millions making people like Sharron Angle, Scott Brown, Joe Miller and Christine O’Donnell household names — tells TPMMuckraker the money was for copies of a book Williams wrote, called “Taking Back America One Tea Party At A Time,” which were sold on the PAC’s third bus tour this spring.
“It was payment for books he sold on TPX III that the Tea Party Express had collected the monies for but not yet dispersed to him,” Joe Wierzbicki, a spokesman, tells TPM.
Williams verified the account, but noted that his consulting fee also included other work he did for the Tea Party Express.
“[The book] was written specifically to be sold on the TPX as a fund-raiser, not as a mass market book,” Willaims told TPM in an email. “They paid for several short runs of a few hundred books each and I got a consultant fee for my work on that, in helping organized events, speaking at them, suffering the bus etc…”
Outside of tea party circles, it is as a controversial writer that Williams may be best known. He wrote a series of attacks on Islam leading up to his resignation as chairman of the Tea Party Express, including the infamous Allah is a “monkey-god” post from May (the post also referred to the “nut jobs” and “mental cases” who “gravitate to Islam.”
Williams’ blog contains a series of offensive statements: Islam is a cult, he wrote, Mohammad was a “psychotic pedophile” and Allah is a “monkey god.” Williams told TPM that despite losing the money he made as part of the Tea Party Express, his skills as a pundit and orator are paying the bills just fine.
“I make way more doing radio and speaking engagements,” Williams said in an email. “TPX was activism, not a job.”