The 2010 elections supposedly swept the tea party into great power in Congress, with great vats of ink spilled on the populist fervor they represented and on claims that these weren't basically standard conservative Republicans. But in fact, the 2010 freshman class has been something of a dud in that regard, from their official tea party affiliations to their less-than-populist approach to financial legislation—and taking money from the big banks.
A Think Progress analysis finds that, despite the anti-bailout campaigns many of the tea party frosh ran in 2010:
Eleven of the 15 have become co-sponsors of H.R. 3461, a top priority for the ABA. According to Americans for Financial Reform, the legislation would “tilt the playing field further in the direction of excessive deference to industry interests and tie the hands of regulators attempting to protect the public interest.” [...]
Meanwhile, they've collected a combined $602,627 in PAC contributions from banks enrolled in TARP and the American Bankers Association. It's not just banking—when it comes to the business as usual of working for legislation that benefits campaign donors, the tea party freshmen have been right on board to help donors on several issues.
Despite the class of 2010's big tea party reputation, Republicans elected to the House that year were actually less likely than other Republicans to join the Tea Party Caucus; moreover, according to a Politico analysis, in 100 key votes in 2011, the class of 2010 Tea Party Caucus members voted against the Republican party's position just 1.25 percentage points more frequently than did their non-tea party freshmen colleagues.
All of which just goes to show what we've long known about tea partiers in general: They're just conservative Republicans, rebranded.