Paul to Miss ‘Tea Party’

By Ed O'Keefe

Dec 11, 2007 1:09pm

ABC’s Z. Byron Wolf Reports: The universe of Ron Paul supporters on the Internet and in the flesh will converge this weekend in Boston with a symbolic anti-tax Tea Party; there will be a blimp overhead and a rally at Faneuil Hall, but no Ron Paul.

The candidate himself wants to maintain the legal distinction between his spirited supporters, who are finding new and interesting ways around federal election law, and his official campaign.

The online Paulisphere is electric with talk of the ‘Tea Party’ ever since the success of their one-day, $4 million fundraiser in November.

Paulians not affiliated with the campaign have been plotting to beat the one-day online fundraising haul. There is little doubt they will put their candidate over $12 million, his stated goal, in fundraising for the final three months of the year.

As supporters pledge money online in a coordinated money bomb this weekend, Paul’s fans offline will pour into Boston in the flesh and have an enormous rally at Faneuil Hall, to commemorate the Boston Tea Party, a precursor of the Revolutionary War where colonists dumped tea into Boston Harbor rather than pay taxes to the King of England on it.

Overhead during the tea party, an enormous, helium-filled blimp that supporters independently banded together, circumventing current election law, to buy and float to Boston from North Carolina will implore New Englanders to "Google Ron Paul."

And it is the blimp that may give Paul’s campaign pause.

Instead of forming a Political Action Committee that operates much like a campaign with fundraising limits, the people behind the blimp, found a way around election law fundraising limits by incorporating an actual company, a limited liability corporation, instead of a PAC, through which to sell stakes in the blimp lease to supporters.

On their website, they seem to be raring for a legal fight to prove they are within campaign finance law. They have enlisted the help of Bradley Smith, a former Director of the Federal Election Commission, to help them plot their legal strategy.

While Paul flirted with the idea of adding a Boston trip to his schedule — recent week shave seen him spend most of his time in the early primary states of New Hampshire, Iowa (Tuesday and Wednesday) and Nevada (later this week) — campaign spokesman Jesse Benton said Paul will skip the Boston rally to keep it distinct from the official campaign.

"We want to do our best to maintain the independence that Ron Paul supporters have from the campaign," Benton said on the phone from snowy Iowa. "Putting him up there in Boston, from an FEC standpoint, could walk right into a gray area."

Paul’s supporters see symbolic ties between the taxes colonists faced on tea and what they call the "inflation tax" today.

The thinking behind the inflation tax is that the American dollar is devalued by the inflation caused when government actors like the Department of Treasury and the independent but Residentially appointed board of governors of the Federal Reserve banking system control the amount of money and liquidity in the marketplace and creating more and more inflation, they say.

Click here to read about Ron Paul dressing down Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke at a hearing on Capitol Hill last month.

But Benton said Paul will be keeping track of both the rally and the planned moneybomb online.

"We’ll be watching the (fundraising) counter online. Its almost hypnotic to watch that thing shoot up."

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