Virginia Tea Party Faces Alleged Occupy Double Standard
A Virginia tea party chapter was allegedly audited by the City of Richmond after complaining that the local Occupy Wall Street movement was receiving special treatment by the mayor, reports Fox News
The Richmond Tea Party said the city charged it $10,000 to hold three rallies in Kanawha Plaza — the same plaza where the Occupy movement has been allowed to reside for free.
Shortly after complaining to the city, the tea party group said it received notice they would be audited.
“As the Occupy mob sprang up, the City of Richmond allowed them the use of the park at no charge. Mayor Dwight Jones of Richmond is a liberal Democrat, who even visited the Occupy Mob, encouraging them,” the group said in a statement released Monday. “In one of the most outrageous political double standards, the city of Richmond, Va. is now demanding an audit of the Richmond Tea Party.”
The city denies the allegations.
“Any allegations are just completely unfounded,” Tammy Hawley, a city spokeswoman, told FoxNews.com.
According to Hawley, City Hall learned about the tea party chapter’s claims through inquiries from various media outlets.
The tension between the Richmond Tea Party and the City of Richmond intensified even further this week when the organization reported that it has received an audit letter, dated November 14, from Richmond's Department of Finance advising the organization that it was being audited for 2010 and 2011.
The Richmond Tea Party has had a business license with the city since 2010. As part of that license, which is required for the organization to hold its annual rallies, the organization is required to provide monthly reports with the city, which it says it has done.
A spokesperson for the Richmond Tea Party, Colleen Owens, told The Richmond Times-Dispatch that the audit letter appeared "a little coincidental," coming just a few weeks after the organization filed its complaint about the city's double-standard in assessing a $10,000 fee to the Richmond Tea Party for each of its annual rallies versus permitting the Occupy Richmond organization to illegally occupy a city park for months.
"What did they send to Occupy (Richmond)? Obviously, there's nothing to send to them because they didn't have (a business license or rally permit)," Owens told The Times-Dispatch. "It's kind of adding insult to injury. We complained about the unequal treatment, and they turned around and piled on more," she said.