SEIU Stages Astroturf 'Flash Mob' in D.C. to Criticize Romney
The Service Employees International Union staged “flash mob” protests in the Washington, D.C., area on Thursday attacking Mitt Romney’s business career and the companies in which Bain Capital, his former employer, have invested.
Billed under the Twitter hashtag #RomneyEconomy, the protests focused on the minimum wage and allegations of outsourcing, and vaguely accused Romney and a number of Bain investments of “destroying the American Dream,” in the words of a flyer handed out by protesters (embedded below).
The protests were hyped online by a website called ThisIsOurDC.org. Protestors wore t-shirts with the site’s symbol, as seen in the video above. While the site does not identify itself as a project of the SEIU – and, in fact, takes steps to hide its registrant information from web domain information service WhoIs – its listed address, 1800 Massachusetts Ave. NW, is the same as the union’s D.C. headquarters.
The union’s financial disclosure forms shows that it gave Our DC, the non-profit that runs the website, $1,158,790 last year.
Valarie Bachelor, who promoted the protests on Twitter and created a Facebook page for another #RomneyEconomy event, is a “political assistant” at the SEIU, according to her LinkedIn page. Another pseudonymous Twitter user who promoted the event lists ThisIsOurDC as his website on his Twitter profile. That user tweeted a picture confirming that ThisIsOurDC was responsible for the protests.
The SEIU-backed protests appear to be part of a larger left-wing effort to boycott companies in which Bain Capital has invested. The website shutdownbaincapital.org also promotes such boycotts, as does an apparently Occupy-affiliated site. Both sites protect their domain registrants’ information from WhoIs requests, making it difficult to determine who exactly is behind the efforts.
While some unions have decided to stay on the sidelines during the current presidential race, the SEIU appears to be moving forward with attacks on Romney. The #RomneyEconomy slogan is quite similar to attacks promoted by the Obama campaign itself. The SEIU has partnered with pro-Obama super PAC Priorities USA during the current election cycle.