In a fundraising email sent out Wednesday afternoon, the Tea Party Express said it was "under siege" from Democrats and liberals following the government shutdown.

"We have been under constant attack by the slanderous rhetoric of the Democrats and mainstream media. We are simply patriotic Americans that are concerned with the out-of-control federal budget and the expansion and intrusiveness of the government, yet we are called 'bigots,' 'terrorists,' 'anarchists,' and the list goes on," the email said.

The Tea Party Express wrote that the situation had become even worse thanks to Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL).

In his own fundraising email, the Florida Democrat compared Tea Party Republicans to the Ku Klux Klan. He later defended the email by saying, "If the hood fits, wear it."

"You know that the efforts of Ted Cruz, Mike Lee, Rand Paul, and other conservatives are working when the left resorts to such vile and hateful smears," Tea Party Express said.

[Image via Flickr user theqspeaks, Creative Commons licensed]