NBC News and news services
updated 9/21/2010 12:56:05 PM ET 2010-09-21T16:56:05

A Tea Party group is $1 million richer thanks to an anonymous donor who wants his money to influence this year's midterm elections.

The nonprofit Tea Party Patriots announced on Tuesday that it had received the donation from a single contributor who wants it divided up and given to local coordinators by Oct. 4. The group's spokesman told reporters that recipients of the money must spend it by Nov. 2, but they are barred from using it for ads or fliers that mention a specific candidate.

The donor, organizers said, wished to remain anonymous. The group was previously funded by a variety of small donors, and cited their average donation to be $80, according to NBC News.

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Tea Party Patriots Inc. is a nonprofit organization and is not required to reveal its donors even if it engages in political activity. Organizers said they will not support specific candidates, only work to motivate voters to support their issues.

Jenny Beth Martin and Mark Meckler, co-founders and National Coordinators of the Tea Party Patriots, said they did not know the anonymous donor's political donation history and whom he may have supported in the past. The funds will be distributed based on application requests from Tea Party Patriot affiliates across the nation and must be received by Sept. 26, they said.

Martin and Meckler said the money will be given to people working to get votes for fiscal responsibility and lower taxes.

They described the group as a "grassroots, bottoms up" organization with a financial initiative. The two women said they work from their laptops and are made up of 2,800 local affiliated organizations.

Martin and Meckler also stated that they fully intend to take President Barack Obama up on his offer to the Tea Party to offer him suggestions.

The Tea Party Patriots is one of several groups that have capitalized on a wave of voter anger and their message of fiscal prudence and smaller government. Candidates backed by tea party groups defeated Republican Party backed candidates in a number of Senate primary races.

The GOP is now working to embrace the energy and the message of the tea party as it seeks to wrest control of Congress from Democrats in the general election.

The Republican Party and outside GOP-allied groups have already stepped into some races in support of tea party backed candidates, most notably Nevada, where Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Democrat, is in a close contest with Sharron Angle.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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