A Tea Party group in Richmond, Virginia is being audited after it accused the local mayor of giving preferential treatment to the local Occupy movement. They say the audit is “an obvious attempt to intimidate and harass us.”
Roughly two weeks ago, Richmond Tea Party spokeswoman Colleen Owens told the Richmond Times-Dispatch her group sent Mayor Dwight C. Jones an invoice for about $10,000 it paid the city to hold three Tax Day rallies in a local park. Occupy Richmond protesters have been using the park without paying since October 15. Yesterday, Ms. Owens wrote a blog post for Andrew Breitbart’s conservative news site BigGovernment.com accusing the mayor of punishing her group for making a stink.
“This audit is an obvious attempt to intimidate and harass us for standing up against the unfair treatment and discrimination against our Tea Party,” Ms. Owens wrote.
Richmond Tea Party organizers scheduled their rallies with the city and raised funds to cover costs including park rental, police protection and port-o-potties. Ms. Owens told the Times Dispatch Occupiers have used the same park illegally and free of charge.
“The Tea Party keeps being compared to the occupiers. Well, in the way we’re treated, there’s no comparison. It’s like a slap in the face,” Ms. Owners said.
Occupy Wall Street protests around the country have cost cities an estimated $13 million.