The controversy over next week’s Tea Party Convention in Nashville has generated a major change in the agenda. Rep. Michele Bachmann has withdrawn from the event after questions were raised over the handling of revenues by the organizers. David Dziok, Bachmann’s Communications Director, sent me a message just a few minutes ago:
Due to conflicting advice on whether Congresswoman Bachmann’s participation in the upcoming Tea Party Nation Convention would be in line with the Committee on Standards, Congresswoman Bachmann has decided not to participate in the event. There is uncertainty about how any proceeds from the event may be used, and we must err on the side of caution. Some will want to portray her withdrawal as a repudiation of the Tea Party Movement, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Congresswoman Bachmann remains encouraged by all Americans, regardless of political party, who are concerned about this nation’s future and dwindling prosperity, and continues to be inspired their passion.
Bachmann was one of two featured speakers at the event, the other being Sarah Palin, who is still scheduled to appear at the convention.
I have asked Judson Phillips, the event’s organizer, for his reaction and will update this post as developments occur.
Update: For more on the background of the controversy, please see this post. The biggest issues were the fact that the event charged $500 per attendee on a for-profit basis and that organizers reportedly used personal PayPal accounts, at least initially, to process purchases. I interviewed Eric Odom of the ALA, one of the sponsoring organizations that pulled out, and also got a full response from Judson Phillips at that time.
Update II: I spoke with Judson on the phone, who had yet to hear directly from Bachmann’s office. Marsha Blackburn also withdrew, but told Judson that she supported the event, but the House Ethics Committee told her they would not approve her appearance. Whether that had anything to do with Bachmann’s decision is unclear, although Bachmann’s statement does mention the Committee on Standards and may have been told the same thing. Judson will have a statement later today when he catches up with all the developments.