Occupy Chattanooga protesters to target U.S. House Speaker John Boehner

Occupy Chattanooga protesters to target U.S. House Speaker John Boehner

October 21st, 2011 by Chris Carroll in News

House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio. (AP)

U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann, R-Tenn.

Photo by Alex Washburn/Times Free Press.

Boehner? Bummer.

So says Occupy Chattanooga, the local anti-Wall Street group planning to protest U.S. House Speaker John Boehner's visit Thursday to a fundraiser for Tennessee Rep. Chuck Fleischmann.

According to an event listing on Facebook, organizers plan to picket near the $1,000-a-couple benefit "from dawn until dusk" to "make John Boehner listen."

"A thousand dollars could mean the difference between foreclosure or having food on the table," said Megan Hollenbeck, a volunteer with Occupy Chattanooga. "It's an example of our unfair system in which people with money have better access to politicians."

Aides for Ohio's Boehner and Fleischmann, both Republicans, declined comment.

Protesters could encounter logistical challenges. The Walden Club, on the 21st floor of the Republic Centre on Chestnut Street, will host the invitation-only event.

At a recent $30,800-per-head fundraiser in an Austin, Texas, high-rise, protesters picketed but never got a glimpse of Boehner, who arrived in a black-SUV caravan that sped into the building's underground parking garage, according to the Houston Chronicle.

On the Facebook page, Occupy Chattanooga members expressed dismay with the fundraiser's pay structure. Along with the $1,000 entrance fee, an extra $1,500 buys a photo opportunity with Boehner and, for $10,000, couples get Boehner photos and "roundtable" seats near Fleischmann and the speaker.

Hollenbeck said Occupy Chattanooga is a volunteer group comprised of members of Chattanooga Organized for Action, the advocacy outfit behind the effort to recall Mayor Ron Littlefield, along with Democrats, tea party members and Ron Paul supporters.

Protest details will be decided at an Occupy event in Miller Park this evening, she said.

In a previous interview, Jordan Powell, a spokesman for Fleischmann, said the campaign hopes to raise $125,000 at the Thursday event, which would nearly eclipse how much the freshman congressman collected between July 1 and Sept. 30 -- about $135,000, records show.

Out of 799 votes, Fleischmann has voted with House Republican leadership 95 percent of the time, according to The Washington Post.