exhaustive research paper published earlier this year:
The Tea Party, which gained prominence in the USA in 2009, advocates limited government and low taxes. Tea Party organisations, particularly Americans for Prosperity and FreedomWorks, oppose
smoke-free laws and tobacco taxes.
We used the Legacy Tobacco Documents
Library, the Wayback Machine, Google, LexisNexis, the
Center for Media and Democracy and the Center for
Responsive Politics (opensecrets.org) to examine the
tobacco companies’ connections to the Tea Party.
Results Starting in the 1980s, tobacco companies
worked to create the appearance of broad opposition to
tobacco control policies by attempting to create a
grassroots smokers’ rights movement. Simultaneously,
they funded and worked through third-party groups,
such as Citizens for a Sound Economy, the predecessor
of AFP and FreedomWorks, to accomplish their economic
and political agenda. There has been continuity of some
key players, strategies and messages from these groups
to Tea Party organisations. As of 2012, the Tea Party
was beginning to spread internationally.
Rather than being a purely grassroots
movement that spontaneously developed in 2009, the
Tea Party has developed over time, in part through
decades of work by the tobacco industry and other
corporate interests. It is important for tobacco control
advocates in the USA and internationally, to anticipate
and counter Tea Party opposition to tobacco control
policies and ensure that policymakers, the media and the
public understand the longstanding connection between
the tobacco industry, the Tea Party and its associated
In other words the Koch brothers, and other big businesses, used the model already put into place by big tobacco companies when they were trying to manufacture fake grassroots resistance against laws restricting smoking in public places or the introduction of cigarette taxes that they knew would impact their ability to make money.
All they had to do was give it a shiny new name, access the same easily manipulated group of dipshits, and the next thing you know they had a new political "grassroots" movement willing to jump through whatever hoops you held up for them, so long as they kept inspiring their anger with words like "freedom," "traditional values," and "communism."
And THIS is the group now keeping the Republicans on a short leash and fro all intents and purposes holding out country hostage