'Enjoy your corporate-funded field trip'
They're angry. And they've named themselves after a hot beverage.
A small group of Coffee Party protesters -- a liberal challenge to the conservative Tea Party protesters -- gathered near the Westin Hotel in Annapolis today to draw attention to the corporate funding of an annual legislative retreat being held there. The National Speakers Conference, hosted by Maryland House Speaker Michael E. Busch, is funded by 67 corporations, The Washington Post reported this week.
Five adults, accompanied by a baby and a toddler, hoisted signs that read "Enjoy your coporate-funded field trip," and that urged passers-by to ask them why they're angry. They chose 10 a.m. Friday because at that time the legislators were attending a seminar about why voters are angry.
"Corporations have showered them with gifts and get exclusive opportunities to speak with them," said Baltimore Coffee Party organizer Susan Larson. "And they wonder why voters are angry?"
The protesters hastened to say they weren't upset with Busch, a Democrat, but rather the way the system works.
Later, Busch said the four-day conference is going well (Only two major events remain: a chat with histroiran David McCullough and a golf outing). It's the conference's first time in Maryland since the group's inception in 1992.
"There are no taxpayer dollars involved," Busch said. "It's basically run and financed the same as the National Governors Association and the Senate Presidents Association. For the most part, it has a consistent list of clients that support it every year."