As Christopher Weber recently noted
, private email addresses and cell phone numbers for newly-elected Members of Congress were recently disseminated by leaders of the Tea Party Patriots, in an email to their supporters.
Now, in a new email, the group has sought to explain their actions.
"The intent was to use [this contact information] to invite the Freshman class to our orientation," they explain, "and to communicate with them prior to the assignment of 'official,' government-issued phone numbers and email addresses."
"Unfortunately," the email continues, "it appears that some of the numbers we obtained truly were 'private' phone numbers and email addresses ...This was not our intent."
This seems like a reasonable response, but rather than leaving it at that, however, the Tea Party Patriots' email goes on to add that,
Finally, to those who are critical of our efforts, we'd like to ask where they have been when tea partiers across the country have had their personal phone numbers and addresses posted by others. Both Jenny Beth Martin and Mark Meckler have had personal private information posted online, including home addresses and phone numbers. Those who are complaining that congressmen had their personal phone numbers and email addresses listed so that constituents could reach them, didn't express a bit out outrage at the egregious invasion of Jenny Beth's and Mark's privacy. And Jenny Beth and Mark didn't go to the media complaining about it.
The purpose of the initial email, of course, was to encourage Tea Party supporters to contact Freshman and urge them to attend the Tea Party Patriots event, rather than a competing event being sponsored by the Claremont Institute
, a California-based conservative think tank.
As Weber noted in his Politics Daily post, "Claremont Institute President Brian Kennedy told Roll Call he's been receiving harassing calls and e-mails."
In their most recent email, however, the Tea Party Patriots actually apologize to the Claremont Institute, writing,
It has come to our attention that a clarification is needed regarding our recent interactions with the Claremont Institute and our Freshman Orientation taking place this weekend. As you are no doubt aware, a scheduling conflict arose, and we found that there were lobbyist and political campaign consultants serving as "coordinators." This is indeed factual, and remains the case. However, there are some who have interpreted this to mean that we believe that the Claremont Institute is part of the inside-the-beltway, DC problem. We do not believe this is the case, and apologize for any implication which may have been drawn from our emails.