The following is a fact-check from the July 18, 2010 episode of Meet the Press:

REP. PETE SESSIONS (R-TX) | The Tea Party movement is comprised of about 1/3 Democrats, 1/3 Republicans, and 1/3 independents – FALSE

REP. SESSIONS: I think it’s clear to me that what–when I look at the tea party, it’s about one-third Democrat, one-third Republican, one-third independents.

According to the April CBS News/New York Times poll that looked at the makeup of the Tea Party, 54% of members call themselves Republicans, 41% call themselves Independents, and 5% call themselves Democrats. In an earlier March USA Today/Gallup poll, 49% of Tea Party members called themselves Republicans, 43% Independents, and 8% referred to themselves as Democrats. That same poll was used with two other Gallup polls, the latest in June, all together indicating even less consider themselves Independents or Democrats:

Since we prefer to take a look at statements in a fairly technical sense, Rep. Sessions does preface his statement with “I think it’s clear to me that” which could be used to show he is stating his opinion rather than a fact. However, it seems fairly obvious to us that he was attempting to state that the Tea Party is almost perfectly balanced ideologically, but it’s reasonable to assume he has seen/heard the heavily reported data that has indicated the opposite. Frankly, we are also inclined to give none of the guests this week any benefit of the doubt, as all are party campaign committee chairmen and spoke so often in talking points.

Sooner or later we may need to come up with a stronger worded conclusion than “FALSE” for statements like this, but for now, because there is no basis in any data we could find to correlate Rep. Sessions’ statement that the Tea Party is made of up of equal parts Republican, Democrat and Independent, we rate his statement FALSE.

This fact-check took a combined 2 hours.

UPDATE/ED NOTE: As a rule, Meet the Facts will never weigh in on whether or not a statement is a “lie” – it is simply impossible to ever know for sure if someone is deliberately making a false statement. Obviously lying is most likely commonplace in the world of politics, but it is not something we believe we have the right to conclude on one way or the other. We believe readers can and will make up their own minds.

**A previous version of this post included a typo incorrectly stating that Rep. Sessions represented the state of Alabama, he represents the 32nd district of Texas.**