The Agenda Project, the group behind the “Patriotic Millionaires” campaign to raise taxes on the rich, is going after the Obama administration, leading protests against a White House they believe is “caving” to Republicans on tax cuts.
Yesterday, in a their first salvo, the group flooded the phone lines of White House advisor Valerie Jarrett’s office. “We sent an email to ten thousand people, and we gave them two direct lines to the White House,” explained Erica Payne, founder of the Agenda Project. Both numbers went directly to Valerie Jarrett’s office. When the first “number got shut down,” she said, she sent out a second direct number that she had. When that number too was disconnected, she emailed out the general phone number to the White House operator.
“Valerie Jarrett’s office was very surprised that somebody had the number,” Payne said. Not that callers received much of a response. “They got blown off,” said Payne.
The Agenda Project is also asking people to call Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Sen. Chuck Schumer, and DNC Chairman Tim Kaine. Payne explained that they were targeting these people specifically because Reid will “ultimately…decide if he accepts the deal or if he’s going to stand up to the White House,” Schumer because he “had a story out that he wouldn’t support the tax cuts,” and Kaine because ultimately a lot of people are going to need to give money to the DNC to get President Obama reelected.
Also on the hit list is Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown. The Agenda Project is running a television ad in his home state attacking him for voting against tax cuts for everyone who makes under a million dollars a year, since tax cuts for millionaires were not on the table.
Brown was picked because “he’s vulnerable on the issue,” says Payne. Not only is he up for reelection in 2012, “he is one of a small number of Republicans who would conceivably…give some better balance on this issue.”
As for what’s coming next, Payne says she’s not sure, but there will almost definitely be something.
“We don’t mind stirring things up when we think people are behaving badly,” she said, “so I imagine we’ll come up with a little bit of trouble to cause today. We just haven’t figured out what that will be yet.”