Sunday, January 17, 2010

Florida Duo Claiming Rights To Tea Party Name Have History Of Alleged Political Dirty Tricks

The two-man team of Florida political activists who are claiming the rights to the "Tea Party" name have been accused in the past of engaging in political trickery for profit, including allegedly pressing opposing candidates to pay for the endorsement of their candidate. In August, Orlando lawyer Fred O'Neal registered the "Tea Party of Florida" (TPOF) as an official political party. Since then, as we reported yesterday, he and his close ally, GOP political consultant Doug Guetzloe, have asserted rights to the Tea Party name, and tried to strong-arm some local groups to drop the well-known moniker. But some Florida Tea Party activists, already incensed that the pair is trying to claim the Tea Party name as their own, have deeper suspicions. Tim McClellan, one of the activists who O'Neal has tried to pressure to change the name of his group, told TPMmuckraker that Guetzloe has a reputation for using "bribery" and "extortion." "That's his MO," said McClellan, who lists himself on his Facebook page as a Republican political strategist. "He's been doing it for years. He's a dirty player." McClellan and others fear that O'Neal and Guetzloe will employ various schemes to profit from their claim to the Tea Party name. For instance: "I don't think it's too far down the road before they start going after people and saying, 'you pay us ten thousand dollars and we'll license the name to you,'" said more

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