Tea Party Express spokesman Mark Williams and his organization have been kicked to the curb by the National Tea Party Federation, the loose coalition of organizations around the conservative movement. The federation says it ousted Williams' group, a Sacramento, Calif.-based political action committee, because it refused to rebuke him for his comments about the NAACP. He had called the civil rights organization "racist" and posted a parody letter from NAACP president Benjamin Jealous, pleading with President Abraham Lincoln to restore slavery because being free was too difficult. Williams posted the letter in response to a resolution passed by the NAACP calling on the tea party movement to oust "racist elements" from its ranks.

On CBS' Face the Nation, federation spokesman David Webb said: "We, in the last 24 hours, have expelled Tea Party Express and Mark Williams from the National Tea Party Federation because of the letter that he wrote, which he, I guess, may have considered satire but which was clearly offensive." [Webb is one of the highest-ranking blacks in the tea party movement.] In a subsequent interview, Webb said of Williams: "He's an embarrassment to the tea party movement. This is an act of self-policing within the federation." [On CNN with Don Lemon Sunday night, Webb refused to characterize the letter as racist.]

The federation is a loose association of Tea Party activists created in April to help the movement amplify its call for smaller government. Its website explains the tempest involving Williams. Federation members held a conference call Friday and agreed to demand that Tea Party Express rebuke and expel Williams. In a later conversation between the two organizations, Tea Party Express refused to take these steps, the federation said. So the federation severed ties with both Tea Party Express and Williams.

Read the rest at the L.A. Times.