WASHINGTON -- Jack Rogers, the president of the Minnesota Tea Party Alliance, is deeply disappointed in his Republican congressman Rep. Tom Emmer.
Rogers, who lives in Ham Lake, published a blog post Thursday that alleged Emmer was avoiding conservative constituents' because he can't attend a Senate District 31 political convention on Saturday. Rogers said the liberty movement is angry about Emmer's recent vote to support funding the Department of Homeland Security.
On Saturday, Emmer will be in Selma, Ala., to join the 50th anniversary celebration of the historic civil rights march.
"We received word yesterday that Tom canceled his planned appearance due to a scheduling conflict," Rogers wrote on the Tea Party Alliance website. "When we asked about what the conflict was, Emmer stated he would be marching in a parade in Alabama that day."
Emmer's chief of staff David FitzSimmons said in an e-mail Friday that his boss had been planning to attend the weekend Selma events since January, and joins Presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush and more than 100 members of Congress.
"This is a historic event that commemorates the enduring resilience of the American ideal of liberty. It’s distasteful that individuals are attempting to minimize Emmer’s participation," FitzSimmons said.
Emmer's staff noted that the congressman took several hours Wednesday and Thursday to call concerned constituents about why he decided to challenge his own party and support a "clean" bill to fund DHS, which did not strip out any money for Obama's executive action on immigration.
Republican Reps. John Kline and Erik Paulsen also supported the measure, as did 67 other GOP House members.
Rogers acknowledged talking to Emmer this week about his DHS funding vote.
"He talked to me. Tom and I are friends and it's like we have a brother or a best friend and all of the sudden they're not thinking along the same paradigms as you are and you always thought they did," Rogers said. "It takes you off guard and that's exactly what happened."
Rogers said he also didn't support Emmer's vote to keep Rep. John Boehner as speaker of the House.
Emmer is actually speaking at a Tea Party event next week, according to a tweet by the Minnesota Tea Party Patriots.