COLONA - Hundreds of people gathered to listen to Republican House Speaker John Boehner in Colona Monday but the audience did not include any reporters.
Police ushered media away from Lavender Crest Winery, where the $100 a plate fundraiser for Bobby Schilling was held. Signs at entrances to the event warned that cameras would not be allowed inside.
Democrats were quick to pounce on the decision to keep the media at bay, with the party's congressional campaign arm releasing a statement that accused Rep. Boehner, R-Ohio, and Mr. Schilling of "hiding from press scrutiny."
Not only were reporters not allowed inside the building at Lavender Crest to listen to Rep. Boehner, they also were not allowed to remain outside to talk to people leaving the event. Over 300 people attended the fundraiser.
"We simply aren't able to open every event to press," Rep. Boehner's spokesman Cory Fritz said.
Local police said they were acting at the behest of U.S. Capitol Police officers who travel with Rep. Boehner when they told reporters to leave the property.
Mr. Schilling's spokesman Jon Schweppe said he had no comment on the decision not to allow media at the event but noted that it was not an unusual practice at major political fundraisers.
In 2012, Rep. Boehner spoke at a fundraiser for then Rep. Schilling at Tennant Trucking in Colona and media were allowed into the event. Mr. Schilling is running against Rep. Cheri Bustos, D-East Moline, in a rematch of 2012 17th Congressional District election that she won.
Last August, Rep. Bustos announced that she would exclude reporters from a series of economic policy forum with area leaders. But she changed her mind after a story in The Dispatch/Rock Island Argus highlighted the decision.
Before Mr. Schilling's fundraiser Monday, Democrats organized a demonstration in Rock Island calling out Rep. Boehner, R-Ohio, and Mr. Schilling, for refusing to support proposed increases in the minimum wage.
Dino Leone, the president of the Quad City Federation of Labor, said Rep. Boehner and Mr. Schilling were "out of touch" with ordinary Americans.
"Obviously, they are more concerned about the rich," Mr. Leone said.
Republicans generally oppose increasing the $7.25 an hour federal minimum wage. The minimum wage in Illinois is $8.25.
Mr. Schilling and Rep. Boehner have both argued that an increase in the minimum wage will hurt the poor by reducing jobs available to them. The last increase in the federal minimum was in 2009.
Democrats like President Obama and Rep. Bustos say it's time for another increase to combat rising inequality by boosting stagnating incomes at the bottom of the wage ladder.
Today is Wednesday, Sept. 17, the 260th day of 2014. There are 105 days left in the year. 1864 -- 150 years ago: We are told league merchants have paid no attention to the prohibition on selling ammunition, but continue to sell just as before the order was issued. 1889 -- 125 years ago: The Rev. R.F. Sweet, rector of Trinity Episcopal Parish, left for the East to visit his boyhood home in Boston before attending the general convention of the Episcopal Church in New York. 1914 -- 100 years ago: Dr. E.A. Anderson was named to succeed Dr. E.L. Kerns as head physician of the Modern Woodmen of America, and moved to Rock Island from Holdingford, Minn. 1939 -- 75 years ago: One week late, because of the outbreak of war, Dr. E.L. Beyer resumed his work as professor of romance languages at Augustana College. Dr. and Mrs. Beyer left Germany on the last train to the Belgian border. 1964 -- 50 years ago: Employees in Turnstyle stores in Moline and Davenport will vote Oct. 2 in an election set up by the Chicago regional office of the National Labor Relations Board. Employees will vote either for the Retail Clerk International or for no union. 1989 -- 25 years ago: Rock Island High School is considering a step to help teen moms stay in school and get their diploma. The school board is expected to vote tonight on instituting an on-site child care center.