Hoping to progess past protests and impact elections, Joan Fabiano has launched what is being called a tea party "strike force" for conservative candidates.
Fabiano, the Holt tea party activist who founded Grassroots in Michigan (http://grassrootsmichigan.com/), held her first meeting last week for the Mobile Action Patriot Strikeforce that's goal is to educate and mobilize tea party voters.
"It is time to put down the tea party signs and pick up the tools necessary to help your constitutional conservative candidate win," Fabiano said.
Here's how it will work:
Candidates will fill out a 12-question form that asks their views on political issues.
After the politicians turn in their survey, MAPS will give them an A through F grade. Also, if the candidate has a voting record, MAPS will direct them to web sites where voters can research each candidate's voting record. One such resource is Michigan Votes - http://www.michiganvotes.org - a site provided by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy that tracks votes.
Then Fabiano said she'll send out that information to her e-mail list of tea party members that are in the same zip codes as the candidates. Voters themselves can then decide the next step.
"We are not telling people what to do," Fabiano said. "We are giving them the tools to help make the decisions."
Fabiano said that if an elected politician fills out a survey that doesn't reflect their voting record, MAPS will provide voters the tools to fact check each candidate.
"If the track record is not matching, that is going to become pretty obvious," she said.
Kelly Harrigan, a GOP activist, said she will aid Fabiano in the grading of the candidates' questionnaires.
Harrigan said MAPS is aimed toward tea party "newbies."
"They are asking for help in identifying candidates with conservative constitutional values," she said. "We want them to be plugged in somewhere. We want them to see what the political universe looks like. It's empowering them."
One year ago, Michigan Capitol Confidential reported on the work of another tea party group - Common Sense in Government - that began using the voting records of state politicians to warn taxpayers when CSG believed that the fiscally conservative rhetoric of candidates didn't match their records.
CSG distributed flyers with the information about Nofs during the GOP primary when he was running against another Republican. This took place during a race to fill a vacancy in the Michigan Senate. Nofs ultimately won both the special primary and general election, and is now a member of the Michigan Senate.
When asked about their willingness to expose the truth about politicians, regardless of political party, CSG spokesperson Wendy Day told Michigan Capitol Confidential: "We don't elect politicians - we un-elect them."