Some 30 "Occupy DC" protesters took their anti-corporate demonstration to the corridors of the US Congress, toting a "golden calf" made from papier mache to symbolize lawmakers' subservience to moneyed interests.
The protest, according to group leader Jeremy John, aimed to call attention to "the worship of money" by the US legislature.
"Our political process worships money instead of serving the people," he said.
John called on members of Congress "to cease worshiping the false idols of profits over and above the people" and to "withdraw the influence of big money from politics."
In the Christian, Jewish and Muslim traditions, the golden calf symbolizes idolatry.
The protesters called on Speaker of the House John Boehner to support taxes on Wall Street trades instead of program cuts for the poor and elderly.
Protesters included members of Catholics United, a Christian activist group.
The protesters could not leave their golden calf at an office building for legislators near the Capitol as planned, but instead left a written declaration.
Protesters later donned holiday hats and sang Christmas carols with satirical lyrics outside the US Chamber of Commerce, as it hosted a Christmas party for the Republican National Committee near the White House.
"The business interests that dominate this country are not acceptable anymore," said protester Brian Ward.
The DC group is but one of dozens of "Occupy" groups that have sprung up across the United States to protest corporate excess and economic inequality, inspired by the Occupy Wall Street movement that began in New York City three months ago.