But according to a lawsuit filed by a Czech investor, Crowds on Demand also takes on more sordid assignments. Zdenek Bakala claims the firm has been used to run an extortion campaign against him.
Bakala has accused Prague investment manager Pavol Krupa of hiring Crowds on Demand to pay protesters to march near his home in Hilton Head, S.C., and to call and send emails to the Aspen Institute and Dartmouth College, where Bakala serves on advisory boards, urging them to cut ties to him. Bakala alleges that Krupa has threatened to continue and expand the campaign unless Bakala pays him $23 million.
Very interesting article with lots of juicy info on astroturfing for cash below the fold.
Crowds on Demand isn’t the only outfit that hires paid protesters, though it is perhaps the most open about what it does, said Edward Walker, a UCLA sociology professor who wrote a book on astroturfing, “Grassroots for Hire: Public Affairs Consultants in American Democracy.”
“There are hundreds of lobbying firms and public affairs firms that do this work, though not all in the same way,” he said. “Some only do a little bit of this grassroots-for-hire, but things adjacent to this are not uncommon today.”
And that is why the hate us. We lobby for “free.” We put 70,000 people for a weekend of celebrating the Second Amendment and we actually improve both the local economy and drop the crime rate.
They have to pay to have their bullshit heard.