Texas Republican Rep. Ron Paul, an icon to many members of the Tea Party movement, has decided not to join the House Tea Party Caucus.
Jeff Deist, chief of staff for Paul, confirmed the congressman’s decision in a statement to The Daily Caller.
“Congressman Paul decided not to join the Tea Party Caucus,” Deist wrote in an e-mail. “He strongly believes the Tea Party movement should remain a grassroots phenomenon, rather than being co-opted by Washington or any political party.”
The House Tea Party Caucus was organized by Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann ahead of the midterm elections. According to Bachmann’s website, there are 52 Republican representatives who are officially members.
Paul’s decision not to join the caucus has put him at odds with his son, Kentucky Senator-elect Rand Paul, who is working to organize a Tea Party caucus within the Senate.
In a recent interview with TheDC, Rand Paul said that he was also considering the formation of a bicameral caucus of Tea Party-supported members of Congress.
Although Ron Paul fears a co-opting of the movement, Rand Paul told TheDC that he hopes to channel Tea Party energy by creating a link between Congress and the Tea Party activists who were instrumental in electing many new conservatives to Congress this election cycle: “I’d also like it to involve the grassroots, in some way, the Tea Party groups so we get some kind of input from folks all around the country, some kind of electronic town hall or something like that.”