The GOP convention will be held in Tampa this year, and it appears as if someone is giving the Occupy movement money to hire professional protesters. That's the impression one gets from this flyer. I wondered who was behind it. Here is what I was able to dig up and my opinion as to what it means:
Nothing on the flyer says which organization is offering to pay people. The only contact information given is a phone number and the private email address of one "RJ Bradley-Ortiz".
I Googled "RJ Bradley-Ortiz" and found this:
I couldn't find that exact post, but a link was given and I followed it. It was a Craigslist posting. It informed people to call RJ at the same phone number, but at a different email address. And the organization doing the hiring was listed as the Florida Consumer Action Network:
According to the posting, they were offering to pay people nine to twelve dollars an hour:
I went to the Florida Consumer Action Network web page and found a few interesting things.
They call themselves a grassroots organization, which is odd since it seems they are paying people. And they are apparently paying people nine to twelve dollars an hour. That's not the sort of money you pay to get professional help, that's the sort of money you pay people to stand around and protest.
What they're apparently hiring people to do isn't clearly stated, but they do use Occupy slogans in their material, so what else would a reasonable person think?
They also don't list RJ Bradley-Ortiz as a staff member:
Perhaps they're just a very large organization and RJ isn't as important as the bookkeeper.
FCAN touts its financial accountability. "FCAN has a high standard of financial accountability." The last financial data they have posted is from 2009:
I wanted current financial information, and a list of donors, so I looked at the two links the organization provides. One led to a Florida state website which gave me some basic information from 2010. They have a foundation with a 2010 income of 190,659 dollars (it does voter registration and education) and a network with a 2010 income of 461,500 dollars:
The other link led me to a website that offered limited information. It expressly forbid me to republish information as a registered user. So here is what you can find about FCAN as an unregistered user:
FCAN hasn't reported revenue and expense data to the website. And its two listed donors (from what year I don't know) are SEIU and USAction:
That was all the information I was able to gather. Nothing is proven, but things look odd. And I still want to know a few things:
1. Why is FCAN using Occupy slogans and giving people the impression in flyers that they are part of the Occupy movement and hiring people.
2. What are the people they are hiring expected to do? Is it to act as paid, professional protesters?
3. Why does their webpage only list financial information up to 2009? Where is the information from 2010 and 2011, and who are their donors?
Perhaps a professional journalist could find answers to these question.
UPDATE: I found a FCAN twitter account and am asking them about this. Will post any responses.