The national media logged thousands of stories about last weekend’s #FITN #NHGOP Summit – but they missed two.
The first story – overlooked by almost all of the national media but covered by the Concord Monitor, Bloomberg Politics and a bit by WMUR – was the #NHGOP treatment of the NH Rebellion.
The Rebellion was originally a sponsor of the #FITN Summit. The group paid a sponsorship fee and expected to have a table inside the Crowne Plaza, so they could speak to the assembled presidential candidates about the #GetMoneyOut movement.
Three days before the event, their sponsorship was revoked. The explanation?
The reason that the FITN event organizers told us was that they believed NH Rebellion had given money to oppose Republican candidates. This is incorrect. The NH Rebellion has not spent any money to oppose — or support — Republican candidates, or any candidates for that matter. We are a project of Open Democracy, based in Concord, N.H. which is a 501(c)(3) nonpartisan, nonprofit organization, and cannot legally contribute to the campaigns of candidates.
With all the attention being paid to which-side-of-the-line legal technicalities these days, one might think that the #NHGOP would be more careful about their “reason” for revoking the sponsorship.
But the #NHGOP didn’t just tell the Rebellion that the group couldn’t have a table. They decided the group had to be kept out of the building. And then they called the cops.
The Rebellion walkers had organized a 15-mile “Patriots Day Walk” for Democracy that started in Lowell, Massachusetts with the ringing of a Paul Revere bell. When 80 or so Rebellion walkers arrived at the #FITN Summit, the walkers were met by police and told to “keep on moving.” Walkers were literally escorted from the hotel grounds by the police.
And when “Paul Revere” impersonator Ellen Read was given legitimate event credentials – and actually got in the door – she was almost immediately forced back out.
There’s a clear message here, for anyone who’s listening: leadership of the #NHGOP does not want to hear from the #GetMoneyOut movement.
Wondering why? First rule: Follow the Money. Which, luckily, the National Institute on Money in State Politics is making easier and easier. Pull up their database of “contributions to Republican party committees” in New Hampshire, click to sort the data by “election year” and guess who’s on the list? Astrazeneca… Centene Corp… Comcast… CVS Caremark… Deloitte & Touche… Express Scripts… General Electric… International Franchise Association… Merck & Co…. Pfizer… Verizon… Altria… Waste Management… Choice In Healthcare Cmte… NE Cable and Telecommunications Association… NH Automobile Dealers… NH Dental Society… NH Independent Pharmacy Assoc… NH Society of Eye Physicians… Select Management Resources (haven’t heard of them? click here)… B J Alan Co… Seabrook Station…
Hundreds of thousands of dollars from corporations and business associations.
And Ellen Read got “escorted” out the door.
The second story that got missed: the depth of the anger about Citizens United, and the public support for fixing the problem.
All along the 15 miles of the Rebellion’s walk, motorists tooted their horns, gave us thumbs-up and shouted encouragement.
Two women grabbed the flag off their porch and joined the walk as we went by.
One woman was putting her own leaflets on cars outside the hotel, when we got there. She wasn’t a part of the Rebellion or StampStampede, she’s just sick and tired of #MoneyInPolitics and wanted to let everyone at the #FITN Summit know she’d had enough. (She was really glad to hear she’s not alone!!)
A few reporters wandered across the street to take a closer look at the Amazing Amend-O-Matic Stampmobile. They all seem surprised by the statistics about grassroots support (61% of NH Republicans support amending the Constitution to overturn Citizens United … 68 NH municipalities have passed local resolutions calling for a Constitutional amendment… 80% of NH Republicans think Congress cares more about special interests than its constituents). But none of the reporters wrote about it.
Here’s why that’s important:
Dave Weigel of Bloomberg got a very different explanation, when he asked #NHGOP Chair Jennifer Horn why the NH Rebellion had gotten tossed from the #FITN Summit. “This summit is an event for Republican activists to hear from our potential presidential candidates,” she told him, “not a platform for the self-absorbed antics of a liberal Harvard professor.”
If Horn truly thinks that #MoneyInPolitics is just an issue for one “Harvard professor”… then who is she listening to? Certainly not the pollsters at UNH. Certainly not the people driving down Route 3A last Saturday. Or the woman with the flyers in the parking lot.
Is she listening only to those “corporate people” on the list of donors to NH Republican Party Committees?
#NHGOP voters deserve to have their voices heard. Not just by “potential presidential candidates” – but by their party officials, too.
The Stamp Stampede is tens of thousands of Americans legally stamping messages on our nation’s currency to #GetMoneyOut of Politics. As more and more stamped money spreads, so will the movement to amend the Constitution and overturn Citizens United.
You can get your own stamp online at www.stampstampede.org. Or, if you’re a member of CWA, you can get a stamp from your LPAT coordinator. The average stamped bill is seen by 875 people – which makes stamping a highly-effective way to get the message out about how money in politics is corrupting our government.
It’s time to #GetMoneyOut of politics and take back our government.