No ev­i­dence backs claims of pro­test­ers be­ing paid

Austin American-Statesman - - METRO & STATE - By Joshua Gillin Poli­tiFact.com Poli­tiFact

Sev­eral Repub­li­can law­mak­ers have ac­cused pro­test­ers at re­cent town hall-style meet­ings of be­ing the tools of deep-pock­eted bene­fac­tors push­ing a lib­eral agenda.

“Un­for­tu­nately, at this time there are groups from the more vi­o­lent strains of the left­ist ide­ol­ogy, some even be­ing paid, who are prey­ing on pub­lic town halls to wreak havoc and threaten pub­lic safety,” said U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Tyler.

While Gohmert isn’t the only of­fi­cial to claim pro­test­ers are be­ing paid, noth­ing has yet turned up to sup­port those claims. The bur­den of proof still lies with the ac­cusers, how­ever, and Repub­li­cans haven’t been of­fer­ing any ev­i­dence (and nei­ther did Democrats when they made sim­i­lar claims about the tea party a few years ago).

First thing about th­ese town hall protests: Crowds have been pretty rau­cous and con­fronta­tional, but not vi­o­lent.

Gohmert spokes­woman Kim­berly Willing­ham didn’t pro­vide the

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