Occupy Wall Street Sets Sights on Romney Fundraiser at Waldorf Astoria

[NEW YORK, NY]  A pop-up occupation will confront Governor Mitt Romney as he arrives in New York for a fundraising luncheon at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel at 11am on Wednesday, March 14th 2012.This event targeting the presidential hopeful and his fundraising base of special interest lobbyists is one of the first in a series of actions some occupiers are calling “The American Spring.”

Occupy Wall Street, along with a broad coalition of community advocacy organizations including UnitedNY, the Strong Economy for All Coalition, Occupy the Dream, New York Communities for Change, Dream Act Scholars / NY Dream Act Coalition, Rebuild the Dream, Community Voices Heard, Move On, Vocal New York and Make the Road New York have signed onto this large event, uniting themselves around a message that our elections are not for sale and that corporations (unlike voters) are not people.

With growing concern over the blurred line between corporate lobbying and campaign finance many activists have honed their focus onto landmark corporate personhood rulings like Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, underscoring that these rulings further erode the mainstream democratic process activists use to influence policy and social change.  Mitt Romney has made himself a champion of this corporate personhood argument and this has drawn fire from activists and occupiers alike.

“Creative visuals like a hula hoop flash mob will highlight Romney’s all-too-creative use of tax loopholes while large placards reading ‘Mr. 1%’ will draw attention to the governor’s cartoonish wealth and incestuous relationship with his corporate sponsorship,” says Brendan Burke of Occupy Wall Street “New Yorkers will converge at the Waldorf with a simple message that democracy is not for sale, that money is not speech, and that corporations also need to pay their fair share.”

 For some of the activists the narrative of fiscal accountability is deeply personal, “In 1996, the city of New York mailed me a bill for $.75, and hounded me about it until I finally purchased a $1 money order, and spent another $.32 in postage to send it to them,” said Margaret Passley, a Brooklyn homecare worker.  “It’s disturbing that wealthy executives like Mitt Romney are allowed to get away with paying next to nothing in taxes, while regular people like me are held to a higher standard.”

“Mitt Romney prides himself as the owner of two Cadillacs, yet students around the country continue to struggle to pay their tuition while working and going to school full-time,”  said Jason Javier, a Student Activist. “Education is key to ensuring that this generation is able to support  families and invest in their communities. When corporations and the wealthy don’t pay their share, while accepting government refunds, they are taking money that could help students cover tuition costs. Romney’s greed, and disregard for regular people like us solidify his position as the poster boy of the 1%.”

Joining the governor at the Waldorf fundraiser will be Jamie Dimon, JP Morgan Chase CEO and John Paulson of Paulson & Company.  Politico has published a partial list of the event’s co-chairs HERE.

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