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(Please be aware, this article was posted on April 1st)

A surprising new coalition of conservative thinkers, US-first activists, and Tea Party proponents has come together to form the Taxpayer Equity, Access, Research, Defense of Rights and Ownership Preservation (TEARDROP) SuperPAC, which will spend money supporting candidates willing to vote to make research findings funded by US taxpayers available only to other US taxpayers in good standing.

“I’ve changed my mind again,” said Congressman Darrell Issa (R-CA). “In Friday’s session, Rand Paul gave a compelling argument that we had a higher obligation as elected representatives of the people. I mean, protecting copyright holders is one thing, but preserving the value of taxpayer research for the American people, and keeping it from people who have not paid taxes — like tax cheats and non-Americans — it’s just common sense.”

Like anyone holding elected office, Congressman Issa cannot coordinate with the newly formed TEARDROP Super Pac, but the SuperPAC has changed Issa’s immediate priorities. In what is surely an absolute coincidence, three of his primary staff members recently resigned to join the new organization. However, they continue to work for Issa as consultants.

“Intellectual property is vital to the success of any enterprise,” said the newly appointed leader of the TEARDROP Super Pac, Owen D. Bills, a former mortgage officer with Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac. “Creators own their works, and those who hire them own those works. In the case of NIH and other government grants, the US government owns the outputs of those works. Therefore, the law-abiding, tax-paying US citizens own those works, and we’ve never signed a treaty or passed a law saying we should share them with anyone.”

The TEARDROP SuperPAC is drafting model legislation that would force the NIH and other government document servers to be locked down to any traffic coming from outside the United States and its sovereign territories, and for new logins be put in place requiring Social Security numbers from users, which would then be validated against IRS records so that only taxpayers in good standing can access taxpayer-funded content.

“It makes a lot of sense to me,” said Willie Nelson. “I think I would have noticed much sooner that my financial advisers weren’t paying my taxes if suddenly I hadn’t had access to the medical marijuana literature. It could have saved me a lot of trouble. It would have been always on my mind.”

Republican Presidential candidate New Gingrich, quick to jump into any controversy, came out swinging early Saturday morning, saying, “When my moon colonies are in place, they’ll be US moon colonies, and everyone there will be good tax-paying Americans. They’ll read science. We’ll teach creationism, but we’ll read science. That’s the American way.”

Republican front-runner Mitt Romney couldn’t be reached for comment. His aides said he was composing a response on his Etch-a-Sketch, but was having difficulty making satisfactory cursive letters.

Not wishing to miss possible Tea Party momentum, alternative model legislation is being drafted by a contingent of left-leaning Democrats. This version contemplates a metering approach, so that access to the complete archive of taxpayer-funded research is available for taxpayers paying the highest marginal tax rates, and metered down based on the rate paid in the most recent tax year. In effect, the richest citizens would have less access to taxpayer-funded research if this provision were to become law.

Republican lawmakers are furious at these newly proposed strictures.

“We’ve fought hard to keep taxes low,” said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnel (R-KY). “So proposals like this are outrageous. The job creators are responsible for much of the wealth in this country, so should benefit from research at a higher rate than they’re willing to pay. It’s only fair.”

Political pundits are noting that while this type of legislation has little chance of passage, the funding for the TEARDROP SuperPAC, which remains clouded in obscurity, is rumored to be surprisingly robust.

“I’ve heard tales that some individual donors from the publishing industry are giving tens of dollars to support this,” said one insider on condition of anonymity. “Some are giving hundreds. For publishers, that’s serious money. Somebody wants this passed.”

Some are also speculating that a portion of the money supporting the TEARDROP Super Pac is coming from foreign sources. While this would technically be illegal, it can more easily occur since the 2010 Citizens United Supreme Court decision. There has been an increase in statements, especially from the Netherlands, which lend credence to such speculation.

“Paying taxes is a sovereign nation’s business,” said Durk Dirk, a publishing consultant in the Netherlands, quoted in the Dutch newspaper Der Newsenpäper. “Disseminating publications paid for by one nation’s citizens to the rest of the world is worse than a stroopwafel laying on the sidewalk in the rain!”

“I never thought I’d agree with a Dutchman,” Rep. Issa said later, reviewing a draft of this story. “I guess politics makes strange bedfellows. But I won’t kick him out of bed over a few stroopwafel crumbs, that’s for sure. Those things are delicious!”

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Kent Anderson

Kent Anderson

Kent Anderson is the CEO of RedLink and RedLink Network, a past-President of SSP, and the founder of the Scholarly Kitchen. He has worked as Publisher at AAAS/Science, CEO/Publisher of JBJS, Inc., a publishing executive at the Massachusetts Medical Society, Publishing Director of the New England Journal of Medicine, and Director of Medical Journals at the American Academy of Pediatrics. Opinions on social media or blogs are his own.


6 Thoughts on "Tea Party-led Super PAC Coalition Seeks to Limit US Research to US Taxpayers"

All kidding aside, isn’t this exactly how the BBC works? They’re a publicly owned set of networks whose costs are paid through UK citizens’ licensing fees. They make content available for free online within the UK, but nowhere else. For non-UK citizens, most of the content isn’t available at all, and if it is, you’re likely paying for a DVD set or cable provider fees.

The wonders of Willie’s weed are well known. But you must be working from a forgery. Probably done by Hairy Anna Huffpo’s henchpeople, a thuggy bunch of ex-editors, journalists and other low lifes with superior writing skills. Anyone who knows anything knows that the T-Party plans to abolish the IRS, since income taxes are unConstitutional. The remaining taxes will be collected by state militias.

And by “taxpayers,” I presume what is meant is “people who actually pay taxes,” correct? That would help keep people who simply don’t make enough money to _owe_ taxes (and there are lots of “those people”!) from reading stuff they probably wouldn’t understand, would misinterpret, would probably raise a fuss about (because those sorts of people probably have lots of time on their hands).

Although one unintended consequence might be keeping this information out of the hands of big multinational corporations who keep profits in other countries to avoid paying US taxes. I suspect that those promoting this initiative might not want to exclude _those_ “people.”

One more thing: this could also be a real shot-in-the-arm for DRM.

I understand that the Arizona legislature is drafting legislation to prevent government-funded research from being communicated to illegal immigrants in the U.S. as well.

The Texas legislature is adding to its law regarding voter identification so that only citizens who can prove they are citizens by presenting 15 documents will be entitled to access such research.

On the other hand, there are some Tea Partyiers who oppose the government spending any money on research (outside the Defense Department) and they oppose OA because they don’t like the idea of this government spreading malicious “socialist” lies.

There is clear support for this idea within the UK too, with a mechanism based on the BBC iPlayer.

As David Crotty points out above, this would mean that the UK gets access to UK tax payer funded research, but others meet a paywall.

It is definitely allied to the idea that academics are already costing the taxpayer, and the taxpayer doesn’t want those academics giving research away to competing countries.

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