16 members of the U.S. Senate have a concrete tie to the Tea Party from some combination of three sources:
In the first meeting of the Senate Tea Party Caucus in January of 2011 (attended by the leaders of FreedomWorks and Tea Party Express), calls for “constitutionally-limited government” were met with great applause. But on May 26 2011, constitutionally limited government was shot down by Senators who voted to pass reauthorization of the Patriot Act without reforms, even though it lets the government snoop through your home, your car, your office, your data, your communications and even your reading list at the library, all without the warrant demonstrating probable cause that the 4th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution demands.
How did the members of the Senate affiliated with these Tea Party organizations vote on the Patriot Act this month? It turns out that most of them supported this intrusive big goverment spying program. Most of them voted a hearty YES to the Patriot Act.
Tea Party Members of the Senate who voted FOR the Patriot Act on May 26, 2011
Senator Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire
Senator John Boozman of Arkansas
Senator Scott Brown of Massachusetts
Senator Richard Burr of North Carolina
Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma
Senator Mike Crapo of Idaho
Senator Jim DeMint of South Carolina
Senator John Hoeven of North Dakota
Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin
Senator Jerry Moran of Kansas
Senator Rob Portman of Ohio
Senator John Thune of South Dakota
Senator Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania
Tea Party Members of the Senate who voted AGAINST the Patriot Act on May 26, 2011
SenatorMarco Rubio of Florida did not cast a vote on the measure.
Tea Party associated members of the Senate ended up supporting the Patriot Act in a higher proportion (87%) than the Senate did overall (76%). As in the House, the Tea Party associated members of the Senate may talk a great deal about supporting the Constitution, but (with the notable exceptions of Senators Paul and Lee) they have not put their liberty talk into pro-constitution practice.