Tea Party Organizers: Local Governments Trying To Shut Us Down

May 04, 2009 | Updated May 25, 2011

Organizers of tax day tea party protests are reporting some resistance to the anti-tax, anti-spending movement from local governments. The anti-tax activist group FreedomWorks has it that a town functionary in Burleson, Texas, is refusing to allow a tea party because the event would not be "in the public interest." So far, the report is a rumor.

"We haven't been able to get an official statement from anyone," says Eric Odom, a national coordinator of over 300 tea parties across the country. (The Huffington Post has lodged an inquiry with Burleson as well.) But Odom says Burleson wouldn't be the only municipality pooping on tea parties: organizers tell Odom that local governments in Florida and Virginia are also trying to bag tea party events.

That's not the case in Washington, D.C., where organizers have secured a permit for their April 15 event in front of the U.S. Treasury Department.

J. Peter Freire is managing editor at the American Spectator and an organizer of the D.C. event. He tells the Huffington Post he's not sure how many people he expects to show up, but he has rebuffed several Republican politicians who asked to speak at the event. (He declined to name names, but don't let that stop you, gentle reader! Send tips to arthur@huffingtonpost.com.)

"We're not a function of the Republican party," Freire says, noting that it was a Republican administration that initiated massive spending to save the financial industry.

"We'd be happy to have anybody who feels strongly about these issues," Freire says. "This is something for your average every day working American who's upset that there's gonna be alightswitch tax or that government is getting more involved in their lives."

One person who won't be there: Rick Santelli, the man whose unpremeditated words gave birth to the tea party movement. A CNBC spokesman told the Huffington Post that Santelli and his network are in no way involved.

The Huffington Post wants to have citizen journalists at as many of these events as possible. If you think you'd be interested in attending one of the Tea Parties and reporting back to us with dispatches, photos, or video, click here to sign up. We'll contact you shortly with further instructions.

UPDATE: The city of Burleson has issued a press release explaining concerns about the site chosen by local tea party organizers. The city suggests an alternate site. The Burleson Tea Party is on!

Here's the release:

The City of Burleson received a request to close a portion of the State Highway 174 frontage road between McNairn Road and Suzanne Terrace to hold a rally entitled the "Burleson Tea Party" on Wednesday, April 15.

The City's Special Events Committee (which consists of representatives of the City's fire, police, public works, and emergency management departments) reviews requests for street closures to determine the impact on public safety, health and welfare. That committee met on Thursday (April 2) to review the request from the group hosting the Burleson Tea Party.

The committee expressed its safety concerns to representatives of the Tea Party group. Principally, the City's concerns are public safety vehicle access to the adjacent residential neighborhood and the impact on safe traffic movement on State Highway 174 which runs adjacent to the area where the Tea Party is requested to take place.

The City did not attempt to stop the event or prevent the event from being held in the city.

Today, the City has placed calls to representatives of the Tea Party in hopes of resolving the City's concerns and identifying a location for the Tea Party to occur. As of the time this press release is being issued, the City has not yet received a return call from the Tea Party group.

The event can be hosted in Burleson's Downtown Historic District adjacent to Burleson City Hall. This area is where the City's festivals and events are commonly hosted.

Alternatively, the event could be hosted at the location requested by the group provided the group is willing to address the City's safety concerns and ensure fire and police response to the residential area adjacent to the location.

The City of Burleson respects, honors, upholds and defends the Constitutional rights of all citizens, particularly the right to peaceably assemble. The City's only interest is to facilitate the exercise of these rights in a manner which provides for the safety of both the participants and the public.