Boston Tea Party: ‘About to implode’

At least one Boston Tea Party state affiliate has already imploded amid an erupting controversy at the nascent party’s Web site.

BTP founder and possible VP nominee Tom Knapp has suspended party vice-chair Dr. Tom Stevens’s Web administration privileges. This, after Dr. Stevens deleted an appeal posted by Mr. Knapp.

Knapp’s appeal was against a decision made by the Boston Tea Party’s national committee to give each state affiliate one vote, rather than each party member one vote, in the upcoming presidential and vice-presidential nominating convention, to be held online, July 15. Mr. Knapp also posted a poll, in which he says party members were “not just overwhelmingly, but unanimously in favor of ‘one member, one vote’ rather than ‘one affiliate, one vote'” prior to the poll being deleted by Dr. Stevens. Knapp says this appeal was posted in accordance with the party’s bylaws.

Dr. Stevens then made a motion for Knapp to relinquish Web administration duties. Knapp declined to accept the motion, saying that the national committee had gone “rogue” in its disrespect of its own bylaws. Knapp then declared his aborted-but-unanimous poll to have succeeded, and that each member of the BTP would be given one full vote, to be cast starting July 15 at 9:00 p.m.

In response, Tom Stevens has threatened to resign and disband his New York affiliate unless Knapp “immediately cease[s] his disruptive actions.” He says he will also encourage other affiliate presidents to follow his lead.

More from Dr. Stevens:

I am proud to have worked with Jim Davidson and the other members of the National Committee is chartering three new affiliates and in holding a successful informal “convention” in Denver. However, the continued attacks by Thomas Knapp, who holds power because he is site administrator for this website, have made the party ungovernable.

Several party members are threatening to resign, and some already have, as a result of this internecine squabble.

Michigan BTP leader Todd Andrew Barrett had the following to say:

Within the last 12 to 24 hours, I have become very disgusted with the juvenile and childish antics by certain key players in the never-ending pathetic fights that have been transpiring on the Boston Tea Party’s national website. . . This Party has become unprofessional and ridiculous. This isn’t the Party that I helped formed back in 2006, and I refuse to be a party to these proceedings.

At least two other members, who along with their wives and Mr. Barrett comprised the entire BTPMI affiliate, have also indicated their intentions to resign. Since five members are required for a state affiliate, this likely means there will be no Michigan affiliate.

Meanwhile, Boston Tea Party chairman Jim Davidson is trying to play peacemaker between Dr. Stevens and Mr. Knapp, and hold the fledgling party together.

22 thoughts on “Boston Tea Party: ‘About to implode’

  1. NewFederalist

    How many angels can dance on the head of a tax collector? What a terrible shame that this “party” is even more irrelevant than the Prohibition Party! NOT!

  2. inDglass

    As far as I can tell from following this, Knapp has worked in accordance with the bylaws all along, while Stevens sabotaged a legitimate effort to protect the votes of each member of the party. Stevens is also repetitively posting attacks against Knapp’s character. Stevens also threatened to fold the entire party, which Knapp reminded him he also could not do in accordance with the bylaws. It seems to me that if Stevens shut up and followed the rules, there wouldn’t be people resigning and potentially closing affiliates, and the party could move on and have it’s convention as planned.

  3. G.E. Post author

    My report was intended to be objective, but you can probably guess with whom I side.

  4. G.E. Post author

    An explosion would indicate that people on the outside might be in some way affected.

  5. inDglass

    I do have one issue with this post, G.E.

    “Dr. Stevens deleted an appeal posted by Mr. Knapp without proper authorization to do so.”

    Did Mr. Knapp not post an appeal, which was then supported by 5% of the membership, which would according to the bylaws put it to a poll? He did, and the bylaws “authorized” him to do it.

    I really do not see why the national committee can not allow the membership to vote on this issue. I guarantee the membership would overwhelmingly vote to allow themselves to have a “one member = one vote” nomination. The last I saw before the poll was sabotaged by Dr. Stevens, the votes 10-0 in favor.

    This would give much less power to Dr. Stevens in determining the party’s nominee, which is the only reason I can see for him to sabotage the poll in violation of the bylaws, and cause all this trouble.

  6. G.E. Post author

    This was a wording error. I intended to say Dr. Stevens was not authorized in deleting it.

  7. Fred Church Ortiz

    Well that’s mostly my point, too many minor parties fall in on themselves instead of blowing a hole in the establishment. Hopefully they’ll sort all this out quick.

  8. inDglass

    Fred, I think it will be sorted out quickly. Few people seem to be speaking up for Dr. Stevens. He has called for the membership to have far less authority in the party, which I imagine is not a popular move. He then supported his argument by breaking bylaws and attacking people, all while contradicting himself. I think the party will move on and the membership will vote for a presidential nominee next week. I just hope they don’t lose affiliates in the process.

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  10. Thomas L. Knapp

    The whole thing is — pun intended — a tempest in a teapot.

    The Boston Tea Party doesn’t yet have enough mass to “implode,” nor does it seem like it’s trying to do so — its membership has grown by more than 10% in the last 24 hours, and I’m satisfied that those new members are real individuals and not, as I had worried might happen, the same individual trying to “pack” the membership with multiple accounts.

    As with all small and still embryonic organizations, there are a lot of opportunities for bad things to happen at this stage.

    One of those bad things which is a legitimate worry (but also a card which Dr. Stevens is playing with a little more vigor than warranted) is that the organization could become one guy’s personality cult. I doubt if the BTP would survive an attempt on my part to make it my own personality cult, and besides, I don’t want one (a SEX cult, maybe; a personality cult is just too bent for me).

    Another of those bad things? Well, let me lay out the facts and let you judge for yourself:

    – Dr. Stevens was a candidate for the party’s presidential nomination.

    – Although the bylaws state that nominations shall be done on a “one member, one vote” basis, Dr. Stevens rammed a bylaws-prohibited motion through the national committee to make it “one state affiliate, one vote.”

    – Wondering why he had been so intent on this change (he had tried to have it done in similar fashion at the Denver meatspace meeting), I began to investigate, and satisfied myself that at least two state affiliates which had been recognized by the national committee on the word of Dr. Stevens were probably fake organizations. They were headed by New York associates of Dr. Stevens rather than by anyone from the states they claimed to represent, with no visible other mmebers. Another affiliate is also headed by one of Dr. Stevens’s associates, but that associate appears to actually be from the state he claims to represent.

    – When I filed a perfectly legitimate appeal versus the national committee’s bylaws-prohibited “one affiliate, one appeal” ukase, with the support of the requisite 5% of the party’s membership, Dr. Stevens hit the roof, deleted the appeal, deleted the poll mandated by the bylaws pursuant to the appeal, began demanding various dictatorial powers over the party’s operations and, last time I noticed, was insisting that he has the power to dissolve the party and intends to do so.

    Draw your own conclusions as to what Dr. Stevens was trying to do and as to the propriety of my actions in putting a stop to it.

    I’m not going to blow smoke up your asses and try to convince you that the BTP is a major party, or about to be one. It’s a small, new third party … but I expect it to survive, to grow, and to do some interesting things. And I’m going to do what I can to see that that happens.

    Tom Knapp

  11. inDglass

    The chairman of the BTP’s national committee has asked Dr. Stevens to resign, and he is expected to do so within the next few days. It also appears that the one member, one vote decision on the nominations will take place as planned, so I do believe this has blown over. Especially with the membership growing so rapidly, the party will be quickly back on track. I expect the BTP to run an interesting campaign.

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  13. planetaryjim

    It is clear to me that the Boston Tea Party is growing both in membership and activity. We have state affiliates forming in Alabama, Colorado, Florida, Michigan, Kansas, Missouri, and Nevada that I’m sure of, and existing affiliates in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. We’ve several very interesting candidates for our presidential and vice presidential nomination.

    Before dismissing our party or asserting that it is about to implode, it might be useful for one of your correspondents to visit our site at

    It certainly seems that the report here is slanted and anything but impartial.

  14. planetaryjim

    With regard to Tom Knapp’s administration privileges, I was against the national committee’s motion to remove these from him. I don’t believe the motion passed the committee. Further to this point, it was Tom Stevens who acted in a disreputable manner, deleting a valid poll to review an action of the national committee, including comments on the poll.

    The simple matter here is that Stevens wanted to prevent the party’s members from having their voices heard. He wanted to have voting for our presidential nominee by state affiliate and he wanted to have no poll to review that decision.

    I wanted to have the members form and join state affiliates to have their voices heard, but I was prepared to have my choice over-ruled by the membership. Tom Knapp wanted the members to choose the presidential nominee, and he was also prepared to have the members over-rule him. The only person who couldn’t put up with having the members vote on whether to have affiliates or the general membership choose the presidential nominee was Tom Stevens.

    Since then, Stevens has resigned as vice chair, has resigned from the party, and in yet another fit of pique has had what he describes as “my New York affiliate” dis-affiliate from the party. Obviously, from these actions, and his call to dissolve the whole party, it is clear that Stevens did not have the interests of the party in mind.

  15. G.E. Post author

    What is Jim alleging… That this report is partial towards Tom Stevens? CTFO!

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