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
- California Birth Index
- According to the State of California. California Birth Index, 1905–1995. Center for Health Statistics, California Department of Health Services, Sacramento, CA.
- Frumin, Aliyah (April 8, 2015). “Meckler: Jeb Bush is ‘loathed’ by the tea party”. MSNBC. Retrieved April 13, 2015.
- Lee, MJ (February 24, 2012). “Mark Meckler, Tea party co-founder quits”. Politico. Archived from the original on January 5, 2014. Retrieved January 5, 2014.
- Ritz, Erica (December 18, 2013). “Could a Convention of States Occur as Early as 2016?”. The Blaze. Archived from the original on January 5, 2014. Retrieved January 5, 2014.
- Meckler, Mark; Martin, Jenny Beth (2012). Tea Party Patriots: The Second American Revolution. New York: Henry Holt and Company. pp. 4–11.
- Blackmon, Douglas; Levitz, Jennifer; Berzon, Alexandra; Etter, Lauren (October 29, 2010). “Birth of a Movement”. Wall Street Journal. Retrieved April 22, 2014.
- Burghart, Devin; Zeskind, Leonard (2010). “Tea Party Nationalism: A Critical Examination of the Tea Party Movement and the Size, Scope, and Focus of Its National Factions” (PDF). Institute for Research and Education on Human Rights. Archived from the original (PDF) on November 24, 2011. Retrieved January 4, 2013.
- Meares, Joel (January 11, 2011). “There is no ‘The Tea Party‘“. Columbia Journalism Review. Retrieved January 4, 2013.
- Ackerman, Jeff (February 26, 2010). “Local attorney seeks return to founding principles in government”. The Union. Nevada County, California. Retrieved January 4, 2013.
- Hindery, Robin (March 24, 2010). “GOP operative transforms into tea party strategist”. Omaha World-Herald. Associated Press. Archived from the original on February 16, 2013. Retrieved January 4, 2013.
- Magin, Kyle (July 22, 2010). “Meckler: No place for racism in Tea Party”. The Union. Nevada County, California. Retrieved January 4, 2013.
- Renda, Matthew (February 16, 2012). “Mecker co-authors ‘Tea Party Patriots’ book”. The Union. Nevada County, California. Retrieved January 4, 2013.
- “Meckler resigns from national Tea Party Patriots”. The Union. Nevada County, California. February 24, 2012. Retrieved January 4, 2013.
- Ratigan, Dylan (February 28, 2012). “Mark Meckler: ‘We Have to Get Rid of Labels Like Left and Right‘“. Dylan Rattigan Show. Retrieved April 7, 2014.
- Meckler, Mark (September 25, 2015). “Ding, dong, John Boehner is gone”. The Hill. Retrieved October 13, 2015.
- “About Mark Meckler”. MarkMeckler.com. Archived from the original on July 20, 2012. Retrieved January 4, 2013.
- Easley, Jonathan (March 14, 2017). “Tea Party leader: Trump risks losing base over healthcare push”. The Hill. Retrieved March 27, 2017.
- Renda, Matthew (April 15, 2012). “Meckler joins new organization”. The Union. Nevada County, California. Retrieved January 4, 2013.
- Bohn, Kevin (May 20, 2013). “First lawsuit filed against IRS”. CNN. Archived from the original on January 7, 2014. Retrieved January 21, 2014.
- Raymond, Nate (May 20, 2014). “Tea Party group sues IRS over inappropriate targeting”. Chicago Tribune. Archived from the original on June 13, 2013. Retrieved January 21, 2014.
- Chakraborty, Barnini (March 24, 2016). “Federal appeals court slams IRS in Tea Party case, demands documents”. Fox News. Retrieved April 5, 2016.
- Roller, Emma (December 4, 2013). “Conservatives’ Improbable New ‘Convention of States’ Project”. Slate. Archived from the original on December 20, 2013. Retrieved January 21, 2014.
- Benko, Ralph (August 19, 2013). “Mark Levin’s Game Changer: Using The Constitution To Arrest Federal Drift”. Forbes. Archived from the original on October 23, 2013. Retrieved January 21, 2014.
- Haberman, Maggie; Barbaro, Michael (December 30, 2015). “Marco Rubio Endorses Idea for Constitutional Amendment to Set Congressional Term Limits”. New York Times. Retrieved January 4, 2016.
- Weigel, David (December 30, 2015). “Rubio endorses a new constitutional convention, winning praise from the right”. Washington Post. Retrieved January 4, 2016.
- Harris, Andrew (September 23, 2016). “Tea Party co-founder holds convention in Williamsburg for amending Constitution”. Williamsburg Yorktown Daily. Retrieved October 4, 2016.
- Tinsley, Anna (September 30, 2016). “Is Texas ready to join a movement to rewrite history?”. Star-Telegram. Retrieved October 4, 2016.
- Weiss, Gary (2012). Ayn Rand Nation: The Hidden Struggle for America’s Soul. New York: St. Martin’s Press. pp. 148–160. ISBN 978-0-312-59073-4. OCLC 740628885.
- “Mark Meckler”. Aspen Institute. Retrieved March 27, 2017.
- Kellar, Liz (February 27, 2010). “Local lawyer emerges as face of Tea Party movement”. The Union. Nevada County, California. Retrieved January 4, 2013.
- Mencimer, Stephanie (October 19, 2010). “Is the Tea Party Movement Like a Pyramid Scheme?”. Mother Jones. Retrieved January 4, 2013.
- “President’s Team: Mark and Patty Meckler” (PDF). Business Today. Herbalife. p. 12. Archived from the original (PDF) on August 25, 2005. Retrieved January 4, 2013.
- Roth, Zachary (March 2, 2010). “Tea Party Leader Was Involved With GOP-Tied Political Firm”. Talking Points Memo. Retrieved January 4, 2013.
- Esposito, Richard (December 15, 2011). “Tea Party Member Brings Gun to NYC Airport, Gets Arrested”. ABC News. Retrieved April 22, 2014.
- Zambito, Thomas (December 15, 2011). “Tea Party big Mark Meckler pinched for gun possession at LaGuardia Airport Thursday”. Daily News. New York. Retrieved January 4, 2013.
- “Tea Party’s Mark Meckler Arrested on Gun Charge”. CBS News. Associated Press. December 16, 2011. Retrieved January 4, 2012.
- Mencimer, Stephanie (January 13, 2012). “Go Ahead, Make Mark Meckler’s Day”. Mother Jones. Retrieved April 13, 2014.
- Sarlin, Benjy (December 15, 2011). “Tea Party Leader Mark Meckler Arrested With Handgun At Airport”. Talking Points Memo. Retrieved April 13, 2014.
- Renda, Matthew (January 12, 2012). “Meckler cops to disorderly conduct in connection to gun charges”. The Union. Nevada County, California. Retrieved January 4, 2013.