Mike Huckabee slammed the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) last night as a corrupt organization that's losing ground to Tea Party protesters.

Huckabee, who did not attend this year's conference, said the annual gathering has focused too much on getting high-priced sponsors.

"I think that because of the way that it solicits sponsors, it's almost become a pay-for-play," he said on Fox News last night. "It's kind of like, Who will pay money to be able to be a sponsor and get time on the program? That's one of the things that has hurt its credibility in the last few years."


The former Arkansas governor and presidential candidate said the Tea Party movement is a more authentic representation of grassroots action.

"The Tea Party has certainly taken all of the oxygen out of the room," he said. "So where CPAC historically was the event, the Tea Parties now are having their own events all over the country and a lot more truly grassroots people are getting involved because of the Tea Parties."

Huckabee also said the organization has become "more libertarian and less Republican," which he cited as "one of the reasons I didn't go this year."

That analysis seems to be borne out in this year's presidential straw poll results: Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) won with 31 percent of the vote.