Would you like to meet your Congressman? Would you like to give him, or her, a piece of your mind? If you would like to avail yourself of the opportunity to sit down with the people who represent you in Washington then you had better bring your wallet because it’s going to cost you.
Congress is currently on summer recess. This is the time when elected officials go out in their districts to find out what is on the mind of their constituents. Many congressman hold town hall meetings…open forum gatherings where officials can press the flesh and find out firsthand how people feel about all that is going on in Washington. As you might imagine, these town hall meetings can get pretty raucous at times. People can get fired up about issues they believe in. But town hall meetings give folks the opportunity to let their representatives know how they feel. A win, win for everybody! Right?
POLITICO is reporting that a number of Congressmen have discontinued town hall meetings in favor of a much more controlled environment. They have outsourced these meetings to third party groups who charge an entry fee to raise money. Sources tell POLITICO: “In this way members of Congress can eliminate most of the riffraff while still allowing reporters and television cameras for a positive news story.”
Translation: if you have just proposed to gut Medicare while protecting tax breaks for millionaires you probably don’t want to face angry grandma’s while being filmed by the local news outlets. So you outsource the gig to a third party outfit who will only sell tickets to those folks who like you.
Republican Representatives Paul Ryan (Wis.), Ben Quayle (Az.) and Chip Cravaack (Minn.) are just a few of the cowardly Congressmen who have availed themselves of the opportunity to dodge the very people who sent them to Washington.
It’s bad enough that elected officials are dodging their constituents; but charging fees for access!
Governance for a fee! Perfect!