A prominent Tea Party group is hoping to ensure that recently elected GOP representatives aren't transformed by their newfound Capitol Hill influence, by allowing their constituents to get to them before Washington does.
At least that was the logic behind the Tea Party Patriots' decision to release the personal cell phone numbers and email addresses of almost 100 incoming Republican representatives, a step they took after they learned that their "Freshmen Orientation" seminar was going to be rivaled by an event supposedly "coordinated by lobbyists and campaign consultants" and organized by the Claremont Institute, a conservative think tank.
Here's the Tea Party Patriots' call to arms:
Do you want the first event your incoming Freshman Congressmen attend to be an event hosted by the grassroots Local Coordinators of Tea Party Patriots and the Congressmen and Senators who are willing to support them in their drive to restore the US Constitution? Or would you rather they attend an indoctrination organized by DC insiders and lobbyists, members of The Ruling Class? Do you want your incoming Freshmen Congressmen to attend an event where they will get the support, encouragement, and knowledge they need to begin to restore our Constitution or do you want them to attend an event where DC insiders can begin to corrupt them?
The water in the Potomac is infected with the politics of the past and needs to be boiled to be cleansed and then steeped in fresh tea. You are the fresh tea. Today we need your help.
We need you to call & email these incoming Congressmen & tell them you want them to attend YOUR Tea Party Patriots event.
Roll Call tested the authenticity of the numbers and verified that at least some of them were correct. Congressman-elect Ben Quayle's, for one, had already been changed.
While some incoming legislators seemed to willingly accept that they'd be getting a number of calls, Brian Kennedy, president of the Claremont Institute, seemed less enthusiastic about the nature and tone of some of the people that had been calling.
"After a mass e-mail was sent out calling for Tea Party members to harass me, effectively, I have received many nasty and threatening calls saying we should 'stand down' and that 'they have my number,'" he told Roll Call in an email.
UPDATE: The Tea Party Patriots have sent out an email which, in large bold text, urges readers to "please stop calling and emailing." Scroll down for the full email.
Please stop calling and emailing
You Have Been Heard!
Thank you for making calls to your Congressmen-elect urging them to attend our freshman orientation this weekend. It's time to turn off the heat.
We also need to apologize to some people. In our haste to compile the list and get it out to you, some people who didn't win their races were incorrectly included as having won. People who dedicate a year or more of their lives to running for office, and who don't succeed, are as deserving of our respect and support as those who ultimately prevailed. In many cases, they have sacrificed their time, money, and families to the cause of restoring the nation to its Constitutional foundation.
Specifically, we need to offer our sincere apologies to a John Koster, Jesse Kelly, and Keith Fimian who ran for office and did not get elected but who were inadvertently added to our list. Additionally, we had a long call with David Harmer from California tonight. He is in a recount, and is dealing with the results of what appears to be large scale voter fraud, and may not win his office. The last thing he and his family need is pressure from us, and we apologize for any stress we may have added to their lives. If you'd like to offer your support for David and his family, please visit his website at www.harmerforcongress.com.
If you forwarded our original email asking you to make calls, or if you posted it on your site, please let folks know to stop. You've made your point, and it's time to let the Freshmen get to work.
We close each email by saying you are the heart and soul of the tea party movement. That is not something we say lightly. The movement would not exist without you. Our Constitution will never be restored without you. Thank you for continuing to work so hard to hold the newly elected officials accountable. Together we can and will restore our founding principles.