Two pranksters who were anything but that showed up at Jacob Lew's confirmation hearing on Wednesday, temporarily shifting the TV spotlight from talk of Lew's past on Wall Street to a controversial tax on big-bank transactions in a move that made neither Rand Paul or Senate security very proud.
Yahoo's Chris Moody was first to call attention to the little green men over the shoulder of Lew, the President's former Chief of Staff expected to be confirmed as the next Treasury Secretary. We headed over to C-SPAN to make sure Moody's tweets weren't just trying to trick everyone. But, sure enough, there were two merry men sitting down quietly and behaving — while donning green hats and tunics like the fabled stealer from the rich and giver to the poor.
We got a little glimpse at first:
And then a little more...
No! Sit back, Mr. Lew!
There they are:
So, what the heck was that? They're not followers of Rand Paul, to whom Moody alluded. But Paul did mention Mr. Hood in his Tea Party response to the State of the Union:
What America needs is not Robin Hood but Adam Smith. In the year we won our independence, Adam Smith described what creates the Wealth of Nations.
But, really, they showed up at the Senate Finance Committee today to advocate for the so-called "Robin Hood Tax," which aims to raise taxes on Wall Street transactions. The Robin Hood Tax advocacy group has been around since 2010, when the movement for taxes on Wall Street transactions started to gain some steam. They trumpet Nancy Pelosi, Cory Booker, Bill Gates, and Mark Cuban as potential luminaries who share their views. This seems to be the first time their supporters have crashed something big on U.S. soil — or at least the first time they've done it and got on camera. From the group's manifesto:
The Robin Hood Tax campaign started as an idea. A way to get America back on its feet and ensure our global leadership. And its grown to a national campaign.
We're committed to making Wall Street traders, big bankers and hedge fund managers pay their fair share for the communities they depend on.
So far the group have remained quiet and peaceful. They're not disrupting the proceedings in any way. But that hasn't stopped security from entering the room just in case.