It should be noted that the Tea Party is not an actual political party. It is officially recognized by Congress as a caucus (i.e., a congressional member organization) with the word party in its name. A member of Congress, a Congressman or a Senator, cannot be a member of two political parties simultaneously. You cannot be a both a Democrat and a Republican in Congress, or a Green Party member and a Republican Party member, or any combination of two or more party memberships.

The word party in Tea Party Caucus is merely a reference to the Boston Tea Party of 1773, which was also not a political party.

Everyone, including the press and politicians, should refer to the Tea Party Caucus as the Tea Party Caucus, as just saying The Tea Party implies a status not conferred to it. describes itself as a “grassroots movement” and often refers to itself as “The Tea Party Movement”. The site does say that “…when you join the Tea Party …” implying they are an actual political party and then imply that donating money to them gives you that membership. But if do give them money all you’re really doing is giving a movement money and not joining a political party or declaring a party affiliation.

Only a Congressman or Senator can be a member of the Tea Party Caucus.

If someone tells you they are a “member of the Tea Party” remind them that it’s not an actual political party and all they really are is affiliated with the Tea Party Movement.