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UPDATE 3/25/15: Senator Wyden’s staff have been telling the press that the fundraising dinner was not “cancelled.” The location of the dinner had been previously publicized in CQ Quarterly and elsewhere. It is clear that the Senator moved his event at the last minute. We would like to know what he told his donors about the last minute venue change.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 24, 2015
Senator Ron Wyden moves DC fundraising dinner last minute after Internet activists announce they will protest Fast Track / TPP outside
A crowd of two dozen people gathered outside the restaurant, but Senator Wyden didn’t show. Hotel workers confirmed the Senator cancelled his event yesterday afternoon, after after protest was announced.
WASHINGTON, DC––A crowd of 25 protesters gathered outside an upscale hotel restaurant in Washington, DC where Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) had planned to host a fundraising dinner this evening, but the Senator did not show up. Hotel workers told the activists that Senator Wyden had cancelled his event on Monday afternoon, shortly after Fight for the Future and Popular Resistance began publicizing plans to demonstrate outside, calling attention to Senator Wyden’s hypocritical support for Fast Track / Trade Promotion Authority legislation. It appears that the Senator moved his event at the last minute after learning about the planned protest.
Evan Greer, campaign director of Fight for the Future, said, “Senator Wyden can run, but he can’t hide from the Internet public on this issue,” she added, “He knows that supporting Fast Track authority for secretive trade deals like the Trans-Pacific Partnership is wrong. He knows it goes against his own values and against the wishes of his voters. He has a choice to make: will he oppose Fast Track and continue to be a hero for Internet freedom? Or will he betray the Internet and support an undemocratic and outdated process that puts the future of the Internet into the hands of the same lobbyists and bureaucrats that brought us SOPA and ACTA?”
Senator Wyden has traditionally been a champion of Internet freedom issues, including net neutrality, but Internet advocates are deeply concerned about the Senator’s support for Fast Track / Trade Promotion Authority legislation that could push trade agreements like the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) through Congress without meaningful debate or public input. The TPP contains extreme copyright provisions, pushed for by the same special interests that pushed resoundingly rejected SOPA legislation, that could lead to global Internet censorship, less privacy, and harsher penalties for whistleblowers.
Earlier this month, Fight for the Future followed Senator Wyden around his home state of Oregon with a 30-foot blimp reading: “Ron Wyden: It’s up to you! Don’t betray us. Save the Internet.” A video of the protest that the group posted on Facebook has already received more than 100,000 views. The group has also run an online campaign resulting in more than 35,000 tweets at the Senator in recent weeks calling upon him to stick to his values of transparency and oppose Fast Track.