BILOXI — A local TEA Party leader is upset at Back Bay Mission’s refusal to take food donations from his group.
John Rhodes Sr., a board member and founder of the Mississippi Gulf Coast 912 Project, said the TEA Party movement is the victim of “some media’s disingenuous descriptions of us, like racists, bigots and other vile terms” and he believes this perception is to blame for the Back Bay charity not accepting food the 912 Project has collected.
The Rev. Shari Prestemon, director of Back Bay Mission, said her agency doesn’t accept donations from political parties, and the IRS has prohibitions against faith-based nonprofits aligning themselves with political parties or charities.
The TEA Party movement, both nationally and locally, is not a registered political party, but Prestemon said, “That may be so, but the perception is there, and the same rule applies across the board for us . Beyond that, I’m not going to comment further.”
Rhodes said he was “astounded” after meeting with Prestemon and exchanging e-mails on the issue. He said he offered for the donations to be anonymous.
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