Rep. Chabot’s Conspiracy Theory: ThinkProgress Organized Town Hall Protest

After Ohio constituents, angry about votes to strip funding for Planned Parenthood and continue tax breaks for the wealthy, gave Rep. Steve Chabot (R-OH) an earful at a town hall Monday, the Cincinnati Republican laid blame for the uproar on a peculiar target: ThinkProgress.

Rep. Steve Chabot (R-Ohio) faced angry protesters at a town-hall meeting in Avondale, Ohio, on Monday. He said Think Progress, the liberal political advocacy group, organized the protest. Chabot says people are “frustrated that the economy continues to muddle along and employment continues to be high.”

Chabot’s charge is ludicrous. ThinkProgress indeed attended Chabot’s town hall, just as other media outlets did, but we played no part whatsoever in organizing attendees. We had never met or spoken with any folks at the town hall prior to that evening. Our role was limited to reporting on the event and speaking with Chabot afterward, just as it has been for other town halls we’ve attended in the past.

It’s understandable that Chabot would want to deflect attention from the constituent backlash he encountered Monday. Prior to the town hall, a large group of frustrated constituents wore shirts calling for more “public investment in jobs” as they rallied outside and chanted “Where are the jobs?” Fearing a possible “YouTube moment,” Chabot proceeded to ban cameras inside the town hall for “security purposes.”


Chabot didn’t just take flak for his filming crackdown from the left. Tea Party Nation founder Judson Phillips discussed the matter in an article entitled “America’s dumbest Republican Congressman”:

I don’t know any other way to put this. Chabot is a moron. First, you cannot confiscate the property of a private citizen without a warrant or some other due process. Second, and I will type this slowly just in case Chabot is reading this so he will understand this. PHOTOGRAPHY IS NOT A CRIME.

Chabot would do well to listen more to Phillips and Ohio constituents angry over Republican policies rather than making wild and baseless charges against ThinkProgress.