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Economy & Business

Occupy Pittsburgh Protests Romney Campaign Fundraiser

Despite a cold, rainy day, about thirty Occupy Pittsburgh protesters gathered outside the Consol Energy Center Thursday to protest a private campaign fundraiser held by Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney.

Calling Romney a "one-percenter," the Occupy Pittsburgh crowd criticized his method of raising campaign funds. The protesters said many of his top campaign backers are the large banks they vehemently oppose, and that corporations and business leaders paid $1,000 to $2,500 for lunch with the GOP front-runner at the Consol Center.

A major point of contention was Romney's support for the Citizens United Supreme Court decision, which governs corporations by the same campaign financing rules as individuals.

"Corporations are not people!" shouted the Occupy Pittsburgh activists, often directing their voices at the departing attendees of the Republican Committee of Allegheny County fundraiser.

Steve Cooper of the North Hills said he also opposes several actions taken by Romney during his political tenure and business career.

"His involvement with slashing state education funds in Massachusetts, his leverage takeovers of companies where he cleans house and slashes benefits, and particularly his words against the Occupy movements, that they are dangerous and inciting class warfare," said Cooper.

Cooper said the gathering was not so much a protest of Romney as a show of opposition to corporate campaign contributions.

"Every politician is guilty of it," said Cooper. "He's probably what I would call the example par excellence right now. President Obama is not exempt from that, either. He has done and will be doing the same thing. That limits the dialogue; that silences voices."

Cooper said neither he nor the Occupy movement endorse any particular candidate for President in the 2012 elections.