Mark Meckler speaking at the 2011 Tea Party Patriots American Policy Summit in Phoenix, Arizona.
|Born||March 10, 1962|
|Alma mater||San Diego State University |
McGeorge School of Law
|Known for||Co-founder of Tea Party Patriots, founder of Citizens for Self-Governance|
Mark Jay Meckler (born March 10, 1962) is an American political activist and attorney. He was a co-founder of the Tea Party Patriots before resigning from that group in 2012. Meckler currently serves as President of Citizens for Self-Governance. Meckler is an active proponent of a convention to propose amendments to the United States Constitution.
Tea Party movement
Following a call for protests from CNBC Business News editor Rick Santelli and others, Meckler and his family began promoting the idea of a Tea Party protest in Sacramento, California, on February 27, 2009. They arrived at the planned protest location with homemade signs, but without an event permit, which they had to apply for on the spot. Approximately 150 people participated, and Meckler began planning further protests, which led him to make contact with other activists in the burgeoning Tea Party movement. Meckler co-founded the Tea Party Patriots organization in March 2009, along Rob Neppell, Jenny Beth Martin and Amy Kremer. The organization became one of the largest in the Tea Party movement.
As a spokesperson for the Tea Party Patriots, Meckler was often quoted by journalists in articles about the Tea Party movement. Meckler was outspoken about the Tea Party being a grassroots movement and independent from traditional political parties. He said the movement was "neither left nor right", but consisted of "people of common sense who coalesce around the principles of fiscal responsibility, constitutionally limited government and free markets." He criticized the Tea Party Express organization for being too closely aligned with the Republican Party. Meckler condemned radio personality Mark Williams, then chairman of the Tea Party Express, as "vile" and "racist" after Williams made blog posts about the NAACP that were criticized as racially insensitive.
Meckler and Martin co-authored a book, Tea Party Patriots: The Second American Revolution, which was published in February 2012. Shortly after the book was published, Meckler resigned from the Tea Party Patriots, citing differences with Martin and other board members over how the organization was being managed. On The Dylan Ratigan Show, Meckler said, "The organization had been doing things that associated it with the Republican party. I'm not a Republican, and a large number of people in the Tea Party movement—40%—aren’t Republicans. So when they sponsored the Southern Republican Leadership Conference to the tune of $250,000, really it was kind of the final blow for me."
In September 2015, Meckler wrote an article for The Hill noting his satisfaction with Republican John Boehner's resignation from his position as Speaker of the United States House of Representatives. Meckler wrote that "Boehner had a long history of selling out the American people" and "America deserves better."
Citizens for Self-Governance
Meckler founded the organization Citizens for Self-Governance (CSG) to "focus on broadening the philosophical reach of the idea of 'self-governance' outside of the Tea Party movement". In April 2012, Meckler became an adviser to the Campaign for Primary Accountability, a SuperPAC.
Through his work with CSG, Meckler has helped to file a class action lawsuit against the Internal Revenue Service, alleging violations under the Privacy Act as well as violations of constitutional rights guaranteeing free expression and equal protection under the law. The lawsuit stemmed from IRS targeting of conservative groups for more scrutiny as they applied for tax-exempt status. In March 2016, a three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit made a unanimous ruling rebuking the IRS and giving the agency two weeks to produce the names of organizations it targeted based on their political leanings.
Meckler has also been an active proponent of a convention to propose amendments to the United States Constitution. Meckler has noted: "By calling a convention of states, we can stop the federal spending and debt spree, the power grabs of the federal courts, and other misuses of federal power. The current situation is precisely what the Founders feared, and they gave us a solution we have a duty to use."
After Marco Rubio endorsed CSG's plans for a convention of states to propose amendments, Meckler said he was glad to see the Convention of States Project "enter the mainstream of presidential politics."
In September 2016, CSG held a simulated convention to propose amendments to the United States Constitution in Williamsburg, Virginia. Of the simulation, Meckler said: "People from all states gathered, proposed six amendments and ran a simulated convention. It has never been done before in American history. The point was proof of concept." Meckler said an Article V convention would have three focuses, including imposing financial restraints on the federal government, limiting the power and jurisdiction of the federal government, and imposing term limits on officials and members of Congress.
Meckler was born in Southern California and grew up in the Los Angeles suburb of Northridge. He obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree from San Diego State University, and in 1988 he received a law degree from the University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law.
In the early 1990s, he moved to Nevada County, California, where he and his wife opened a coffeehouse in Nevada City. After selling the cafe in 1997, he started a company that made equipment for the snow-skiing industry. For several years Meckler and his wife also worked together as distributors for Herbalife, where they qualified for the "president's team" of top sellers. Meckler next established a law practice focused on business law. He eventually specialized in Internet advertising law and worked as counsel for Unique Leads and Unique Lists, two closely related online marketing operations. In 2007, he worked with Opt-In Movement to create a list-generation firm that catered to political campaigns.
On December 15, 2011 Meckler was arrested at New York's LaGuardia Airport and charged with criminal possession of a weapon, a felony under the gun laws in New York. While checking baggage for a flight to Detroit, Meckler presented a Delta Air Lines agent with a locked case containing ammunition and an unloaded Glock 27 pistol. He had a permit to carry the weapon in California. Meckler was unaware that his gun license was not valid in New York, which has strict gun laws. Meckler was released following arraignment. A spokesman for the Port Authority Police said Meckler "had a misunderstanding of the law. He had a permit to carry in California." An attorney for Meckler said Meckler was "in temporary transit" through New York and the gun was "lawful" and in a safe approved by the Transportation Security Administration. After the incident, Meckler said he believed his constitutional rights had been violated. He subsequently plead guilty to an infraction of disorderly conduct, in order to avoid trial on charges which carried up to a fifteen-year prison sentence. He was sentenced to a $250 fine, and the pistol was destroyed.
Meckler is married and has two children.
- Tea Party movement
- Citizens for Self-Governance
- Convention to propose amendments to the United States Constitution
- According to the State of California. California Birth Index, 1905–1995. Center for Health Statistics, California Department of Health Services, Sacramento, CA.
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