Groups Compete to Talk to House Freshmen

A national Tea Party group is accusing the Republican Party of plotting to undermine a two-day training session the group has organized this weekend for newly elected members of Congress.

The Tea Party Patriots announced the session immediately after last week's midterm election, which saw dozens of Tea-Party favorites win office. The group promised classes on the Constitution, balancing the federal budget and other topics, and it is flying in organizers from around the country at cost of over $100,000.

But in an e-mail sent late Thursday to its member organizations, the Georgia-based umbrella group accused the Republican National Committee of staging a competing conference at the same time to draw attendees away from the tea party event.

"DC insiders, the RNC, and lobbyists are already trying to push the Tea Party aside and co-opt the incoming Congressmen," the Tea Party Patriots said in its e-mail.

The group's anger was aimed at the Claremont Institute, a small conservative think-tank based in Claremont, Calif., which is also hosting a conference for the House freshmen this weekend.

But an RNC spokesman said he was not aware of the Claremont conference. Claremont Institute president Brian Kennedy said there was no intention to undermine anyone else's event. "The Tea Party Patriots are probably very good folks who are probably a little upset that not as many congressmen are coming to their events," he said.

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