A group of citizens held a demonstration of sorts today at Sen. Tom Cotton‘s office in Little Rock to protest his support of Betsy DeVos, recently confirmed by the senate as the federal Secretary of Education. DeVos, a billionaire and major player in GOP circles, is known for her support of vouchers and for-profit charter schools; during confirmation hearings, she appeared to know vanishingly little about education policy.
The citizens group, calling themselves the Truthful Tuesday Coalition, was led by Sarah Scanlon of Little Rock, a former staffer on the Bernie Sanders presidential campaign. The group presented a check to “buy Senator Cotton’s vote,” a reference to the financial backing that DeVos and her family have provided to Cotton’s campaigns. The group raised $9,107 from 382 individual contributors via a GoFundMe campaign (the mock check seen in the image above was created on Tuesday morning; the group then raised around $400 more after that).
It would be illegal for Cotton to accept money offered to buy his vote, so instead of literally giving more than $9,000 to Cotton, the money will go to four organizations in Cotton’s name.
Scanlon, you may recall, was denied a meeting with Cotton staff last week. She was met with signs stating that staffers would accept meetings by appointment only and that filming and recording were prohibited. A staffer told her through a closed door that they were not meeting with any constituents or allowing anyone into their offices because of “recent threats.” In response to public pressure, by the end of the week Cotton reversed his appointment-only policy and promised to hold a town hall this month to meet with constituents.
Scanlon and her group got a meeting with staffers today without a problem, where they presented the mock check. Staffers said they’re likely to hold a town hall on Feb. 22 in Northwest Arkansas. Scanlon said that her group will be taking a bus of constituents there.
From the group’s press release this morning:
Senator Cotton announced his support for Betsy DeVos over the objections of many and has remained steadfast even as fellow Republican senators are announcing their opposition to her nomination. DeVos and her family have made significant monetary contributions to Cotton’s senate campaign – $8,300.00 according to Federal Election Commission (FEC) reports.
A GoFundMe fundraising campaign, started by Sarah Scanlon, to raise $8,301.00 to “buy” back Senator Cotton’s vote has been successful. As of this morning, the fund has received $9,107.00 from 382 individual contributors.
And here are the organizations that will receive donations in Cotton’s name from the money that was raised:
1. HippyUSA – HippyUSA focuses on reading support for pre-kindergarten and kindergarten children in underserved communities. DeVos has limited knowledge of the impact of federal programs on kindergarten programs and is wholly unqualified to run the U.S. Department of Education.
2. Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families advocates for public education and many causes to support our state’s core units. DeVos is a proponent of public funds being spent on private school vouchers. If confirmed she will dramatically impact public funding for education.
3. The ACLU of Arkansas – In less than three weeks we have already seen the impact of the President Trump’s Executive Orders and anticipate that the ACLU will need additional funding to be fight all of the bad and unconstitutional policy being created.
4. Lucie’s Place supports service homeless LGBTQ youth who are some of our most vulnerable. Senator Cotton is unsupportive of LGBTQ rights.