The right's new cash cow: Tea Parties have amazing fundraising potential

A combination of newly engaged small donors and already engaged ones redirecting their contributions are the main source of the money, according to movement organizers in Washington and across the country, who predict that if tea party donors unite behind a group or cluster of groups, they could emerge as a force as well-financed as the liberal juggernaut MoveOn.org…

“The biggest problem I have is that there are a bunch of hacks out there,” said Erickson, who has been traveling the country advising conservative groups and big donors on strategies for feeding and channeling the grass-roots energy behind the tea party movement. He said “multimillion-dollar donors” have largely refrained from supporting many of the tea party-affiliated groups because they’re waiting for signs of which will be able to effectively advance the movement.

But the fundraising efforts have also prompted grumbling about the monetization of a local grass-roots movement and raised concerns about whether the money is being used to advance the cause of the activists who burst onto the national scene last summer with marches and town hall protests around the country…

“There are a lot of questions about money and where all the money has gone,” said Erick Erickson, editor of the influential conservative blog RedState.com, which has emerged as both chronicler of — and guide for — the tea party movement.