Activist Watch List


New Orleans I know Tamecka Pierce, and I also know that this kind of right wing, autocratic, anti-democratic “Watch List” will probably fuel her fires, as it does mine. A friend forwarded this screed over to me this morning.

I love the question about whether or not anyone “has been on a board with Wade Rathke?” That’s a big frickin’ list, partner! In act I think these tea-people should start asking literally everyone if they have ever worked for any organization for even one day over the last more than 40 years that I’ve organized for any outfit I’ve directed. That number is in the tens of thousands…perhaps 50000 or more when we count voter registration folks, canvassers, and more, and how about the millions, like Tamecka, who were proud members and leaders of ACORN? You can’t let those folks just wander the countryside free and easy. What could happen?

Actually quite a lot! We’re everywhere, and we’re coming for you. We may not be ready yet, but when we are…..


GOP Congressmen Put Constituents Who Asked Tough Questions On A ‘Watch List’

By Marie Diamond on Aug 26, 2011 at 2:50 pm

Reps. Dan Webster (R-FL) and Tim Griffin (R-AR)

In recent weeks GOP congressmen have resorted to all sorts of underhanded schemes to avoid
interacting with their angry constituents back home over August recess. Now two Republican
freshmen, Reps. Daniel Webster (R-FL) and Tim Griffin (R-AR), are taking this trend one step
further, using disturbing intimidation tactics and “watch lists” to discourage constituents from
asking them questions:

Rep. Webster’s Winter Garden, Florida district office gave out a “Watch List” of six
Floridians who had asked questions at Webster’s previous town halls. The list, with the
header “For the Media,” included names, photographs, and questions that members of the media
should ask them.

The Watch List itself doesn’t contain any information on who wrote it or where it comes
from.The memos surfaced in Arkansas in connection to the office of Rep. Tim Griffin, and
were traced back to Rep. Webster’s office.

With black and white photos that resemble police surveillance, some of them pulled from
the individuals’ Facebook profiles, the memo is clearly meant to intimidate these six people
and anyone else who might stand up and ask a question of their elected representative.
At a Griffin town hall, staffers were handing out the Watch List to attendees, calling it
their “homework.” Griffin staffers were also spotted taking photos and shooting video of
attendees, creating an extra layer of intimidation.

While Webster and Griffin are ostensibly making these lists to screen out paid activists, the
people they are targeting are regular constituents who have simply spoken up and expressed their
disagreement about important policy decisions. Nevertheless, Webster staffers clearly went out
of their way to investigate the backgrounds of these individuals and insinuate people like them
are not welcome at future town halls.

In April, ThinkProgress reported from Webster’s home district about a town hall where he faced
a barrage of criticism for defending his support for tax breaks for the rich and the Medicare-
ending Paul Ryan budget. One of the constituents ThinkProgress interviewed, Tamecka Pierce,
ended up as #5 on the “Watch List.”

Pierce, who had to undergo chemotherapy, asked Webster a tough question about what would
happen to people like her with major preexisting conditions under the Republican budget. She
expressed her disappointment in Webster for dodging her question — which apparently was
enough to land her on a McCarthy-esque list that pictures her like a criminal.

In another instance, the memo suggests that members of the media question the military service
of a 66-year-old Vietnam veteran named Ron Parsell. Parsell told the Orlando Sentinel, “I think
it’s pretty weird. Someone asks a legitimate question, and all of a sudden somebody’s got a
dossier on you.” Parsell added, “It’s the type of thing they’d do in old Russia.”