After a hiatus that coincided with a tough re-election campaign for Rep. Michele Bachmann, the House Tea Party Caucus is launching anew with a reception Thursday.
About a dozen representatives and several senators are expected to attend the event in the Rayburn House Office Building at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, organizers said. Co-hosting the event is TheTeaParty.net and helping organize it is consulting firm kellenPROJECTS.
Also, a competing tea party caucus founded this Congress by South Carolina Republican Rep. Mick Mulvaney was abandoned when the lawmaker realized Bachmann would be restarting her caucus after all.
“I was unsure if Congresswoman Bachmann was planning to chair a Tea Party Caucus in the 113th Congress, so my office filed paperwork with the House Administration Committee to establish a caucus by that name. I’m happy to have learned Congresswoman Bachmann plans to continue her own caucus, and I look forward to working with her on a range of Tea Party issues,” Mulvaney said in a written statement.
TheTeaParty.net is part of an umbrella of organizations led by Todd Cefaratti that includes the Tea Party News Network and the Tea Party Legal Defense Fund. The group recently hired its own lobbyist, Bob Adams, to push a “limited government” agenda on the Hill.
“What we decided was it wasn’t just enough to throw stones from the outside of the Capitol or outside the Beltway, that we needed to be players within the beltway,” said Niger Innis, the chief strategist of the group. Former Rep. J.D. Hayworth has also signed on as a “national adviser.”
According to an invitation obtained by CQ Roll Call, the reception Thursday will feature a discussion on “how to effectively educate the public on Tea Party ideals and discuss the Tea Party’s legislative activities for the year.”
The kickoff event comes after a period of dormancy for the caucus.
The caucus, much heralded and well-covered by the press when it was created in 2010 as a congressional conduit for the national movement of the same name, had not announced a public meeting since July, and the group’s Twitter account has been silent since September.
“To say we haven’t been real active is an understatement. We haven’t done anything,” Texas Republican Rep. Joe L. Barton, a member of the group, recently told CQ Roll Call.
“There have been a lot of other things going on,” Georgia Republican Rep. Lynn Westmoreland added. “Let’s face it: [Bachmann] had a tight race, a tough race, so she was probably paying attention to that.”