March 16, 2011- Pro-union protesters are expected to rally in Washington on Wednesday evening to counter a fundraising event for the Republican Party of Wisconsin.
Coming just one week after Republicans passed Gov. Scott Walker’s budget-repair bill, which cut benefits and collective-bargaining rights for many state workers and brought hundreds of thousands of protesters to the state capitol, the event—hosted by Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour’s old lobbying firm BGR—will give Wisconsin GOP lawmakers a chance to fill their pockets with proceeds from tickets priced between $1,000 to $5,000, as well as outside donations.
Critics have billed the fundraiser as a chance for GOP lawmakers “to pick up checks from the corporations and wealthy insiders who benefit from efforts to silence the voice of middle-class families.” David Donnelly, national campaigns director for the Public Campaign Action Fund, one of at least 10 organizations sponsoring the protest, predicted the money will be used by GOP senators battling recall campaigns. Efforts are underway by both Republicans and Democrats to recall senators of the opposite party.
“Immediately, I think the money will go toward the recalls back home, which I think will drive turnout to this fundraiser,” Donnelly said. “There’s a tremendous amount of money on both sides: upwards of a million to two million in each Senate district. The stakes are so incredibly high, and people see this [event] as a national proxy fight.”