Reporting from Washington — The freshman class may have ridden the 'tea-party' wave into office, but they're pretty skittish about jumping into the pool. Only 10 members of the 87 Republican freshmen in the House signed on to the tea-party caucus before the group's first meeting on Monday.
The paltry turnout resembled the scant participation on the Senate side. When Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) called the first meeting in January, only four senators signed on to join.
Conservative firebrand Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) is the organizer of the House caucus, which was founded last year as many lawmakers were seeking to bolster their credentials with conservative activists ahead of the November elections. Since then, several members have dropped off the membership list, including Reps. Paul Broun (R-Ga.), Tom Graves (R-Ga.) and Rep. Ralph Hall (R-Texas).
More surprising, however, is the freshman reluctance to get involved in the caucus, which intends to meet regularly to listen to 'tea-party' leaders and discuss priorities for the small government movement. In January, Bachmann and the caucus organized a seminar on constitutional law with Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.