Published April 14, 2009
What would a party be without party poopers?
As anti-tax protesters organize tea parties across the country on April 15, rumors are swirling that a backlash is brewing.
Some believe ACORN, which has been under scrutiny for accusations of voter fraud, is preparing to crash some of the tea parties. But ACORN says it is only helping to organize dozens of rallies on the same day in support of President Obama's first budget.
"This is the first we've heard of these so-called 'tea parties.' And, frankly, a bunch of small get-togethers by fringe conservative activists dedicated to simply saying 'no' is of little interest to us," said ACORN spokesman Brian Kettenring.
He did not say where the pro-Obama rallies would take place, leaving open the possibility that they may clash with some tea parties.
Tea party organizers, meanwhile, say they're not worried at all about possible disruption.
"If ACORN wants to send some of their paid, pretend activists to show up, that's fine," John O'Hara, who is holding a tea party in Chicago, told FOX News. "They don't have a message that resonates with the American people or resonates with this broad coalition that's upset with the spending that's going on in Washington."
"We don't take them seriously," said Mark Mekler, who is organizing a tea party in Sacramento. "We expect people to attempt to infiltrate, we expect people to attempt to disturb what we're doing.
"But the reality is this is a very broad-based grassroots movement," he told FOX News. "There is no leader at the top. There is no individual event that they can disturb that would cause us a problem nationwide."
Taxdayteaparty.com, which is helping to organize the protests, said more than 250 locations in all 50 states will hold rallies on April 15. Some believe ACORN will try to make the tea parties look like fringe group efforts at best, and racist undertakings at worst.
Mekler said he is not concerned with how outsiders may try to portray their efforts.
"The people who are involved understand they're not racist, they're not fringe, they're not even partisan," he said.
"I mean, these are events where we have across-the-board Democrats, Republicans, conservatives, liberals, libertarians. The people who are going to be there know what's going on. We're not worried about these folks polluting the event."
ACORN said if there are protesters, it won't be from its ranks.
"The idea that ACORN is out to disrupt these meet-ups of fringe activists is yet another conservative fantasy," Kettenring said.
"At this point, it would not surprise us to wake up tomorrow and see conservative media fingering ACORN's 500,000 member families as the principle cause of global climate change," he said in a written statement.