The New York Times reported that the Russell Senate Office Building hearing room was evacuated because of a suspicious package found in the office of Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), just around the corner.
But internal emails obtained by POLITICO reveal that Rules Committee staffers had “pulled the plug” on the tea party gathering after determining it violated two Senate rules. Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) chairs the Rules Committee, but the staffers involved were non-political, and Schumer wasn’t aware of the incident until after it happened.
Freshman Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) had arranged for the so-called Tea Party Debt Commission, whose 12 members were appointed by tea party group FreedomWorks, to present its 10-year plan to cut the deficit without raising taxes – a contrast to the one being hatched by the secretive congressional supercommittee.
(See also related Fox News, Roll Call, Slate, and New York Times stories.)