33 tea party groups raised $43 mil for the midterms. $3 mil went to ads and contributions. $40 mil covered “expenses.”‘ 

By Kenneth Vogel

A few hours after a certain former Florida governor took to Facebook last month to announce he was going to “actively explore” a presidential run, a political action committee called the Conservative Action Fund blasted out an email to thousands of recipients urging them to “help us stop Jeb Bush today.”

The email, signed by the PAC’s chairman, Shaun McCutcheon, pleaded, “If you are a conservative like me who is tired of the special interest, political elites like Jeb Bush running the GOP, then I need your immediate help to make it clear that American conservatives reject a Jeb Bush candidacy.”

Bush could be persuaded to stay out of the race, McCutcheon’s email asserted, if “hundreds of thousands of conservative, grassroots activists” signed petitions by Dec. 19 to be “hand delivered to Jeb Bush in a very public way” that would presumably shame him out of the race. “And after you sign the petition, please make a donation of $5, $15, $25 or more to help us get even more signatures?” the email concluded in underlined bold text embedded with a hyperlink that took readers to a petition landing page that asked for their emails and then their cash.

It was a slick and well-timed campaign, tapping into the angst of grass-roots conservatives who are as unhappy with GOP leaders like Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Speaker of the House John Boehner as they are with President Barack Obama and congressional Democrats.

Read the full article at Politico.com.