After waiting on a Freedom of Information Act request, The Blaze has exclusively obtained the event's permit documents which clearly state the Dupont Circle rally permit was applied for and granted to ISO. However, new twists in the story paint a different picture of the apparent collusion between leftist groups, including the ISO, MoveOn.org, SEIU, Planned Parenthood and infamous former green jobs czar Van Jones.
On February 23 -- just one day after Van Jones published his rally cry at the Huffington Post -- Heather Kangas, an organizer with ISO filed a permit application with the U.S. National Park Service to reserve protest space at Dupont Cirlce in Northwest Washington.
(Although the city's Metropolitan Police Department generally handles protest permit requests across the District of Columbia, Dupont Circle is federally owned land and therefore managed by the NPS.)
According to the permit application, the ISO said its would protest "proposed budget cuts to women's reproductive health services," ostensibly a rally against congressional Republicans' proposed defunding of abortion provider Planned Parenthood.
However, through a seemingly coordinated effort, solidarity event sponsors MoveOn.org and the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) successfully negotiated for a joint demonstration to support Wisconsin union workers with the ISO permit holders. Instead of a rally in support of Planned Parenthood, demonstrators co-opted the event for a "Rally to Save the American Dream" featuring Van Jones.
It's unclear why MoveOn.org and SEIU chose to work with ISO rather than hold their own separate protest. Various commenters' accounts on Facebook suggest the groups had planned a separate demonstration to be held closer to the Capitol building, however plans changed and MoveOn instructed participants to attend the rally at Dupont Circle.
The Blaze has confirmed that neither the National Park Service nor the Metropolitan Police Department received a permit request from either group for a separate event.
FOIA requests to obtain any permit applications submitted to the U.S. Capitol Police for a protest on Capitol grounds were unsuccessful. A spokeswoman for the Capitol Police Department told The Blaze that the Capitol Building falls under the purview of Congress and is not subject to public information inquiries under the Freedom of Information Act.
So how did MoveOn, SEIU and ISO collaborate in organizing the "American Dream" rally?
Repeated requests for comment from each organization (local and national chapters) and rally organizer Heather Kangas have gone unanswered. In addition, Planned Parenthood has also failed to respond to inquiries from The Blaze as to whether another pro-choice/anti-budget cuts rally will be scheduled. Planned Parenthood also failed to answer questions posed by The Blaze about possible role as a sponsor of the 2/26 rally in Washington.
Video captured at the protest shows corroboration amongst the groups, however, as protesters explain that "Planned Parenthood has a permit" and the pro-union rally organizers were "working with them." But as we've reported, the only permit issued for the event was acquired by the International Socialist Organization, suggesting union protesters worked with ISO to organize the rally:
[youtube http://www.youtube.com/v/Bm2exwYVH4U?fs=1&hl=en_US expand=1]
According to the National Park Service, such permit "piggybacking" violates rules and regulations governing the use of federal park space for First Amendment rallies. The Blaze has confirmed that neither Kangas nor the ISO notified the NPS that SEIU and MoveOn.org would be holding a joint protest, as required by Park Service regulations.
It's not clear why the NPS police at the scene did not question organizers about this regulation, but the NPS' Division of Park Programs confirmed to The Blaze that such a violation should have resulted in a revoked permit and potential fines for permit holders Kangas and the ISO.
The Blaze also contacted officials in permit offices in several other cities across the country where rallies took place. In New York City, Democrats.com LLC applied for and received a permit for their protest. In Oklahoma City, a permit was issued to MoveOn.org while protesters in Baltimore, Md., operated with no permit.