Founded by a former staffer for the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign, the Town Hall Project offers itself as a one-stop website for information on town hall protests throughout the country. The parent organization of the group is located at the same address used by an organization affiliated with billionaire George Soros, an inveterate contributor to leftist causes.
The Town Hall Project calls itself a "volunteer-powered, grassroots effort that empowers constituents across the country to have face-to-face conversations with their elected representatives." It was founded by Jimmy Dahman, who was a field organizer for Clinton’s presidential bid. In an interview with Poppy Harlow and John Berman of CNN, Dahman denied that protesters are being paid while claiming that town hall protests are "all organic and happening at the grassroots level."
In a tweet, President Donald Trump dismissed the “so-called angry crowds in home districts of some Republicans are actually, in numerous occasions, planned out by liberal activists. Sad!"
The parent organization of the Town Hall Project is the Action Network, which played a role in the demonstrations in Ferguson, Missouri, after a white police officer shot a young black man and major protests ensued.
In an interview with Brian Kilmeade of Fox News
, White House spokesman Sean Spicer was asked if there is an ongoing, organized “pushback” against Republicans by protesters who are “being paid to protest.” Spicer answered, “Absolutely. Protesting has become a profession now. It's not these organic uprising we've seen that the Tea Party was a very organic movement. this has become a very paid astroturf
On CNN, reporter Poppy Harlow asked Dahman “Is your movement a paid movement? Do you know protesters being paid? Are you guys paying those folks to go?” Dahman answered, “We are not paying any protesters. I've not heard of any protesters being paid. If that's the case, I don't know why 1,000 people were in Oregon for a Ron Wyden town hall.” Wyden is on a swing through the state and plans on hitting at least eleven town hall meetings. Dahman went on to say, “This is something that's happening across the country, red states, blue states. There's civic engagement like we've never seen. It's all organic and happening at the grassroots level.”
, an activist group with which the Town Hall Project is affiliated, has launched ResistanceRecess.com
-- a website that calls on activists to show up at town hall meetings.
Founded by Barack Obama, Organizing for America has developed a manual
to train tens of thousands of activists and agitators to protest against President Trump’s policies and to disrupt town hall meetings. Organizing for Action is featured prominently on Obama's new post-presidency website. The manual trains leftists to challenge and harangue Republicans on issues ranging from immigration, Muslims, and Obamacare. OFA is calling on adherents to mobilize this week while Republicans are "going to be in their home districts.” Protesters have disrupted town hall meetings featuring Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), and Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR). In Houston, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) decided not to appear at a town hall meeting that had been disrupted by protesters.
Labor union involvement
On the board of the Town Hall Project parent organization -- The Action Network
-- are: Jeffrey Dugas, who worked for Sen. Elizabeth Warren and at the Center for American Progress that was founded by Clinton campaign director John Podesta; Mark Fleischman, a former VP of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU); Rich Clayton, another former SEIU employee; and Brian Young, who campaigned for Howard Dean and John Kerry. It shares a Washington DC address with United We Dream
, which calls itself the "largest immigrant youth-led organization in the nation." Billionaire George Soros has funded United We Dream, which began protests on college campuses against Trump soon after the November 2016 election. Also at the same address is Change to Win
, a labor group that is chaired by Teamster president James P. Hoffa.
The leadership council of Change to Win includes Hoffa, as well as Mary Kay Henry of the SEIU, and Arturo S. Rodriguez of the United Farm Workers of America. Affiliated labor unions include the Teamsters, SEIU, United Farm Workers of America, and United Food and Commercial Workers International Union.
Many media outlets have not reported on the organization of protesters at town hall meetings. The Hill
ran a story entitled "GOP Senator grilled over DeVos vote in town hall," GQ Magazine ran with "Mitch McConnell went to a town hall in Kentucky and got dunked on
," while the New York Times
had "At town halls, doses of fury and a bottle of Tums
." On Wednesday, POLITICO
reported on town hall meetings featuring Republicans. Protesters at town halls for Rep. Dave Brat (R-VA), Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), and Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) appeared to repeat Democratic talking points that included a presumption that Russians intervened on the side of Trump in the election, and supposed wrongdoing on the part of former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn.
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