Phila.-area tea party group ends its 'party' role

Posted: July 27, 2014

The party's over - the local tea party is, anyway.

One of the Philadelphia region's most prominent branches of the tea party movement is removing from its title all allegiances to the political splinter group, its leaders announced Friday in front of Independence Hall.

Expressing confidence in Republicans' chances in congressional races this fall, what had been the Independence Hall Tea Party Association - now the Independence Hall Foundation - said it would replace campaigning and political fund-raising with a more educational and outreach-based approach to its policy goals.

Its fund-raising arm, the political action committee with the same name, will "cease with PAC activities to focus all of our energies on the Independence Hall Foundation," said the PAC's vice president, Bill Green.

"We strongly believe that regional center-right congressional candidates are now well-positioned to win competitive general election races this November," he said after reciting an extensive list of the PAC's candidate endorsements.

Instead of seats in Congress, the foundation will aim to gain not-yet-conservative minds, with a scope beyond the tea party's usual economic issues, such as cutting taxes and reducing the deficit.

"We wish to pursue a larger, more mainstream conservative agenda, while respecting the mission of the broader tea party movement," said foundation president Teri Adams, formerly head of the association.

That agenda, she said, includes preaching conservative views on religious liberty, defense and education spending, foreign affairs, and legal abortion, which the group opposes.

Though Adams said the foundation agrees with "most tea party objectives," she said it sees the tea party as a temporary "protest movement," not a party.

The foundation's mission, however, remains aligned with tea party thinking, which is "to stop the Obama administration from remaking America into a . . . European socialist state," as Adams put it.

The Independence Hall Tea Party Association had several thousand members, she said. Founded in 2009, it was one of several similar groups in the area. Another is the Bucks County-based Kitchen Table Patriots.

Don Adams, Teri Adams' brother and the PAC's president, said the group plans to carry out its reshaped mission through "educational programs, monthly policy briefings, and we'll continue with our great list of speakers."

Asked whether the change was related to the debate between the national GOP's right wing and its centrists, Don Adams said: "This has nothing to do with the Republican Party.

"We're moving away from politics and more towards educational change," he said. "We were built around economic issues, but we think everyday issues are just as important."


LONeal@phillynews.com

215-854-2619 @LydsONeal

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