Talking Point: Town Hall Protesters Are Paid Activists

Claim:  Republicans and conservatives claim that recent town hall protesters are paid activists.

Rank: FalseRecent town hall meetings of Republican members of Congress have been met with protests against the repeal of the Affordable Care Act and other issues.  In addition, the offices of some members of Congress, such as Senator Marco Rubio, have seen almost daily protests.  As a result of these protests, some members of Congress have decided to not have town hall meetings or use a modified format.

Not all Republican members of Congress agree that the protesters are paid activists.  Senator Chuck Grassley said that there is no evidence that paid protesters are disguising themselves as angry constituents.  Representative Mark Sanford said that his event consisted of real people who have a real concern over their healthcare and that it was not manufactured.

To explain the protests, the members of Congress and the White House have suggested a number of explanations.  One explanation is that the protesters are organized sympathizers of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.  Others say that former President Barrack Obama is behind them.

On February 22, 2017, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer blamed professional protesters for the tense town hall meetings along with an earlier message calling the protests astroturf. Representative Jason Chaffetz has claimed that the Democrats are trying to create chaos.  Some Republican officials claim that protesters were being bussed to the meetings.

At the Conservative Political Action Conference on February 24, 2017, Wayne LaPierre, executive vice president of the National Rifle Association, claimed that protesters are receiving $1500 a week.  This claim is similar to previous claims that were determined to be fake news or false.

There are claims that George Soros is behind the recent spate of protests against Republicans.  While Soros denies any direct involvement, his foundation has given grants to some of the organizations (for example, MoveOn.org and Indivisible) behind recent protests against President Donald Trump and Congress.

Rating

The only evidence that Republicans and conservatives have offered are indirect ties between the organizations organizing the protests and George Soros’ foundation.  There has not been any evidence presented to show protesters have been directly paid for their services. Due to this lack of evidence, this claim can be considered false.

References and Further Reading

 

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