Craigslist Ad Recruited Paid Protesters to Oppose Abortion Legislation in Texas

July 2, 2013 - 5:18 PM

 

Texas legislature

Protesters entering Texas Senate chamber (AP photo)

(CNSNews.com) – A grassroots political consulting group, whose major clients include the Democratic National Committee (DNC), was recruiting individuals on Craigslist and offering to pay them $1,300 to $2,200 a month to “protect women’s rights” in Austin, Texas for their client, Planned Parenthood.

The ads, entitled “Keep America Pro-Choice” and “You Don’t Need To Filibuster To Stand Up To Anti-Pro Choice Politicians,” were placed on Craigslist by Grassroots Campaigns, Inc., for Planned Parenthood, a Grassroots spokeswoman confirmed to CNSNews.com.

The phone number on the ad shown below was first posted on July 1, but has since been deleted. It directed readers to call the Colorado-based political consulting group at their Austin location for more information, not Planned Parenthood. (See Grassroots 1.pdf)

The ad reads: “PROTECT WOMEN’S RIGHTS IN 2013! Grassroots Campaigns is immediately hiring passionate and motivated people to help educate the public and identify new supporters to protect reproductive rights. We’re working right now to: keep birth control affordable, oppose attacks on women’s health, ensure healthcare access and expand global reproductive rights.” The ad also lists a pay range of $1300-$2200 per month.

Several calls by CNSNews.com to the Austin branches of Grassroots Campaigns and Planned Parenthood were not returned.

However, Grassroots Campaigns National Recruitment Director Christina Coliazzo told CNSNews.com by telephone from Boston, Mass. that her group has been working with Planned Parenthood since 2009. She said that the Grassroots Campaigns’ local office in Austin changes its ad language frequently to reflect what is “going on.”

Texas Governor Rick Perry, a Republican, called the Texas Legislature back for a second special session after state Senator Wendy Davis’ (D-TX10) failed filibuster attempt last week. The legislature is meeting this week to consider SB-5, a bill that would ban abortions after the 20th week of gestation.

The legislation is strongly opposed by liberals in the Texas Legislature and has been criticized by members of the U.S. Congress, including Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D- Calif.) who tweeted: "Inspired by courage & dedication of @WendyDavisTexas in standing up for women,” and President Obama, who also tweeted using the hashtag: #standwithwendy.

Grassroots Campaigns Inc.'s website said it began in 2003 by “canvassing on behalf of the DNC.” The ad seen below that ran on Craigslist in Austin says the group is a “non-profit agency.” (See Grassroots 2.pdf)

The organization is registered with the Colorado State Corporation Commission and with the Massachusetts State Corporation Commission.

Grassroots Campaigns has offices across the nation in many major cities, including Austin and Boston, where it is registered as a for-profit political consulting group to conduct “resource development on behalf of non-profit organizations,” according to the Massachusetts State Corporation Commission.

Grassroots Campaigns’ web lists the DNC, MoveOn.org, Operation Democracy, the American Civil Liberties Union, Environmental Action and Save the Children as clients it has worked with in the past.