Protesters affiliated with Occupy DC crashed the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's holiday party at their Washington, D.C. office on Thursday night, rolling out a human red carpet at the event featuring prominent business and political leaders in order to protest a U.S. Congress they believe caters to special interest lobbyists rather than its constituents.
The protest was organized by Service Employees International Union (SEIU), U.S. Chamber Watch, as well as various Occupy groups, Mother Jones reports. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the nation's largest corporate lobbying group, whom Occupy protesters believe have an unethical amount of influence on elected officials and the U.S. political system.
As guests entered the event, which was reportedly attended By Speaker of the House John Boehner, protesters shouted You walk on our rights, now walk on us! while encouraging attendees to tread over the demonstrators lying underneath a red carpet bearing the inscription 99 percent.
Chamber Executive Vice President Bruce Josten, the group's chief lobbyist, stood at the foot of the carpet to welcome the event's confused guests.
This is Bruce Josten's let-them-eat-cake moment, Christie Setzer of Chamber Watch told Mother Jones, although the publication reports she refused to directly approach Josten.
The event was one of several protests that took place in Washington, D.C. this week. On Monday, unemployed protesters from across the country gathered in D.C. for a week of demonstrations dubbed Take Back the Capitol, during which thousands of Americans occupied the offices of several members of the U.S. House and Senate and swarmed K Street to speak out against the influence of corporate lobbyists on the nation's political discourse.
A report released on Wednesday from the non-partisan Public Campaign found that 30 major U.S. corporations have spent more money lobbying Congress than on paying federal income taxes between 2008 and 2010, an example of the undue influence Occupiers argue has corrupted the American political system.
Ashley covers U.S. politics for the International Business Times, with a focus on civil liberties, women's issues and campaign finance. Her work has also appeared in The...