Sarah Palin is slated to be in Boston Common Wednesday for the Tea Party Express “Just Vote Them Out!’’ tour — a cross-country rally that will end with a protest in Washington on tax day, April 15. This is the first time the tour is coming to Boston, home of the original tea party, and activists are expecting thousands of fired-up activists to attend.
But keep an eye out in the crowd: There may be some misfits afoot.
Conservative talk-show host Sean Hannity warned Friday about a rogue website that’s encouraging mischief-makers to crash tea party rallies. How will they infiltrate?
“Whenever possible, we will act on behalf of the tea party in ways which exaggerate their least-appealing qualities (misspelled protest signs, wild claims in TV interviews, etc.) to further distance them from mainstream America and damage the public’s opinion of them,’’ suggests the site, called crashtheteaparty.org.
The site says it is the project of a nationwide network of Democrats, Republicans, and independents who are sick of the tea party movement. But its creator, Jason Levin, says he is just a 36-year-old technology educator from Portland, Ore. He is thrilled that his idea went viral, thanks to Hannity.
“I think words are often more powerful than actions and if you can just get the idea out there that there is this great unwashed monolithic group of people prepared to invade the tea party, the people in the tea party — who are so ready for that message — will just take it and run with it,’’ Levin said in an interview.
Tea party members wouldn’t really do that, would they?
Well, conservative blogs and websites were immediately abuzz with warnings to keep their eyes peeled for crashers. Warned one post: “Next tea party you go to be on the lookout for trouble makers. Chances are they could be agents of these idiots.’’
The Globe reported last week that Mike Dennehy, a New Hampshire-based operative and one of four veterans of John McCain’s campaigns who Cahill brought in, said he was hired with great fanfare but then ignored by the Cahill campaign and never paid. In response, John Weaver, a top strategist on McCain’s two presidential campaigns, told the Globe that “everybody who’s working actively is being paid.’’ He said he would not, however, “get into who has the lead contract and who’s subcontracting out.’’
It was also unclear then whether Mark Salter, McCain’s so-called alter ego and coauthor, had been paid for work done for the campaign of Cahill, a Democrat-turned-independent. The only record of payment to the group is a $25,000 payment on March 15 to Strategic National Consulting, the Michigan-based firm of John Yob, another McCain campaign veteran.
But under a new provision in state law, anything paid to “sub-vendors’’ by consultants and others must be reported separately to the state Office of Campaign and Political Finance.
Cahill campaign spokeswoman Amy Birmingham said the campaign has been in touch with the state campaign office to determine its responsibilities under the new law and if Weaver and Salter are determined to be sub-vendors, the payments to them will be filed.
“Because it’s such a new law, there were a lot of questions about that, and there needs to be a little more clarification,’’ Birmingham said.
BRIAN C. MOONEY
Just such a thing happened Friday, as the six-member Board of Trustees for the Boston Public Library was taking a vote relating to library closures.
The measure on the table would have kept the Orient Heights branch in East Boston open until September 2011, giving it a year reprieve to allow for progress on a new East Boston library. But when the trustees raised their hands to vote, it came out 3-3, a tie that left the chairman, Jeffrey B. Rudman, unsure how to proceed.
Check “Robert’s Rules of Order,’’ yelled David J. Vieira, president of the City-Wide Friends of the Boston Public Library, referring to the consummate guide for democracy’s quirks and questions.
Rudman called a 10-minute recess, and an attorney for the city did just that.
“ ‘Robert’s Rules’ does state,’’ said the attorney, “that an amendment fails on passage with a tie.’’
And so it went.