Closed Door Tea Party Caucus Meeting Has “Big Turnout”
By: Rachel Pulaski
On Thursday, 20 House Republicans attended a closed door Tea Party Caucus meeting organized by TheTeaParty.net. The meeting was led by Caucus Chairwoman Rep, Michele Bachman. Those also in attendance included Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky), Louie Gohmert (R-Texas), Tom Price (R-Ga.), Trent Franks (R-Ariz.), Paul Broun (R-Ga.), Steve King (R-Iowa), RNC Chief of Staff Mike Shields, RNC Chairman Reince Priebus and conservative radio talk show host Rusty Humphries. The Tea Party Express and US Chamber of Commerce were also in attendance.
Lawmakers present said it was best turnout to date for the caucus and reminded them of the early tea party days of just a few years ago.“I thought it was the energy we had when we first started things,” Gohmert told POLITICO after the meeting. “The Tea Party beliefs and movement never really went away. It was just that the caucus wasn’t really having meetings.”Bachmann, who was surprised by the big turnout, joked at the meeting, saying “we don’t even get this kind of quorum for committee meetings,” according to sources in the room.Niger Innis, chief strategist of TheTeaParty.net, said the group is looking to expand on the Senate side of the Hill. No senators attended, but Innis said several were invited.“My suspicion is that the next gathering could very well be on the Senate side,” Innis said, adding that Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) was expected to attend the meeting but had to cancel last minute because of an emergency. Innis has a meeting scheduled with Johnson’s office Friday morning. Besides Johnson, Innis said his group is also lobbying Sens. Paul, Tim Scott (R-S.C.) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) to convince them to start a Senate Tea Party caucus.
Rep. Barbara Lee (D., Calif.) attacked Republican Tea Party Caucus members by saying they came to “dismantle government”. Via Free Beacon :