Posted by Lynne Varner
A story from the Washington, D.C.-based Politico reports Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., is charging $15 per person for an event during the August congressional recess in which he will take questions from the audience.
According to Politico the House Budget Committee chairman isn’t holding any face-to-face open-to-the-public town hall meetings during the recess, but instead will speak to those willing to open their wallets.
The Politico story continues: "Ryan, who took substantial criticism from his southeast Wisconsin constituents in April after he introduced the Republicans’ budget proposal, isn’t the only member of congress whose August recess town hall-style meetings are strictly pay-per-view.
Rep. Ben Quayle (R-Ariz.) is scheduled to appear Aug. 23 at a luncheon gathering of the Arizona Republican Lawyers Association. For $35, attendees can question Quayle and enjoy a catered lunch at the Phoenix office of the Snell & Wilmer law firm.
And Rep. Chip Cravaack (R-Minn.) took heat in Duluth this weekend for holding private events — including a $10-per-head meeting hosted next week by the local chapter of the National Federation of Independent Businesses, which on its invitation notes that the organization “supported Chip in his stunning upset over long time Congressman Jim Oberstar in the 2010 election.”
This isn't pay for play in the traditional sense. Yes, money buys access here but the price of admission is set at a populist level, essentially for the price of a grande latte, an oversized muffin and a generous tip to the barista - anyone can walk into these events. But the amount of money is neither here nor there, there is a real problem in our democracy when pols begin hiding behind pay-per-view events or passing off meetings to staffers?
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