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Tea Party irks new members with tactic to promote its event

A Tea Party tactic to pressure new lawmakers not to attend a
privately sponsored orientation event in D.C. this weekend was
unwarranted, according to frustrated incoming GOP House members.

Competing freshmen lawmaker orientation events over the weekend
prompted the Tea Party leaders recently to encourage their followers
to bombard newly elected GOP House members with the message that they
must attend a Tea Party-sponsored event for local organizers instead
of a separate orientation offered at the same time by the
conservative Claremont Institute.

But incoming members say they never received an invitation to participate
in the Tea Party Patriots event held in the Ronald Reagan building in
Washington, D.C., on Sunday.

“Nobody received any type of (invitation), it was just ‘this is what’s
happening, please don’t go here,’ but I’m a big boy and I can choose
where I need to go and where I need to be,” incoming Rep. Allen West
(R-Fla.) said in an interview on Sunday afternoon before heading into
a meeting at the Capitol Hill Club, a Republican unofficial
headquarters in the shadow of the U.S. Capitol, with members of his
freshmen class.

“I didn’t know it was happening until I started getting inundated with
emails and (messages) filling up my voicemail,” West’s colleague told
The Hill.

One irate incoming member told The Hill that the Tea Party tactic to
release personal contact information of the new class was “extremely
counterproductive and, in all honesty, an incredible violation of
privacy.”

Tea Party Patriots coordinators sent out a message to followers late
Saturday night with the subject line “FRESHMEN ORIENTATION
CLARIFICATION” after it was apparent that they needed to repair the
damage done as a result of poor scheduling.

“One of the main goals of the Tea Party Patriots is to help tea
partiers across the country stay informed and communicate about issues
which concern them. In doing so, we will occasionally ruffle
feathers. And sometimes it requires that we step back and reevaluate
our actions,” coordinators Jenny Beth Martin, Mark Meckler, Debbie
Dooley, Sally Oljar, Diana Reimer and Dawn Wildman wrote.

Though they said they did not intend for Tea Partiers to “flood” new
members’ personal phones and emails with messages, they justified the
decision as “this was our only way to communicate with them since they
do not have an ‘official’ line of communication at the present time.”

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