The activist group responsible for many of the recent protests at town hall meetings hosted by Republican lawmakers was founded by a former campaign staffer for Hillary Clinton’s failed 2016 presidential bid.
Jimmy Dahman, a former field organizer for the Clinton campaign in Iowa, is the founder of Town Hall Project, according to a report from the Washington Free Beacon. In an appearance on CNN earlier this week, Dahman argued that the town hall events are all “organic and happening at the grassroots level.”
“The goal is to make Republicans, even from safe districts, second-guess their support for the Trump agenda.”
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Calling the organized, disruptive protests “civic engagement,” Dahman claimed, “we’re not taking sides on any policy issues or primaries or anything like that. We’re just— encouraging people to engage in the process and empower them to use their voices.”
President Donald Trump, like many, was very quick to refute the assertion that these protests are organic, but rather professionally organized and structured. Monday evening, Trump tweeted: “The so-called angry crowds in home districts of some Republicans are actually, in numerous cases, planned out by liberal activists. Sad!”
The Town Hall Project also has connections to several influential left-wing activist groups, including MoveOn.org. MoveOn.org received a $1.46 million donation from George Soros to help start the movement, according to Forbes.
The parent company of the Town Hall Project is The Action Network, which was heavily involved in organizing Black Lives Matter protests in Ferguson, Missouri, following the death of Michael Brown in 2014, per their website.
The board of directors for The Action Network is filled with influential figures from labor unions and progressive organizations — the chief activist organizers on the Left, including:
Mark Fleischman, the former vice president of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU); Brian Young, who worked as the online media director for John Kerry in 2009; Jeffrey Dugas, who worked for Elizabeth Warren’s 2012 Senate campaign and John Podesta’s Center for American Progress; and Rich Clayton, who was the shareholder activism arm of Change to Win, a labor group that describes itself as a “strategic organizing center,” for the SEIU; as reported by the Washington Free Beacon.
As the connections continue to mount, it is also important to note that The Action Network is located at the same address in Washington, D.C. as United We Dream, which is heralded as the “largest immigrant youth-led organization in the nation.” Like Town Hall Project and MoveOn.Org, United We Dream has also received donations from George Soros, according to the Open Society Foundations website.
On its website, the Town Hall Project advises its activists and supporters to study the “The Indivisible Guide,” which is subtitled as a “practical guide for resisting the Trump Agenda.”
The guide has been used in a slew of disruptive town hall meetings this month, forcing House Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), Rep. Tom McClintock (R-Calif.), and Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.) to prematurely leave their events.
The Indivisible Guide says the primary goal is to make Republicans second-guess their support for Trump’s agenda, and to lay the groundwork for “2018 midterms when Democrats retake power.”
In what appears to be an endorsement, Hillary Clinton tweeted her support Tuesday for the groups protesting at GOP town halls.
“If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the … Congress,” Clinton tweeted, along with a link to a story on one of the town hall protests.
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