This is Real: GOP So Afraid of Public Outrage, They're Charging You to Ask Them Questions

When Congress takes a break this August, don't plan on asking Paul Ryan any questions if you're broke. For the entire month, the Chairman of the House Budget Committee will only answer questions for $15 a pop, effectively shielding him from any of the Americans he helped disenfranchise last session with the debt-ceiling standoff and the draconian GOP budget bill. Its legality is dubious, but the fact that he's charging for questions is the starkest evidence of our plutocracy yet. One expects Ryan to open the next Budget Committee meeting with the declaration that we should all just eat cake. (Or, at the very least, ketchup.)

But Ryan is not alone in his pay-to-speak scheme. Politico reports that Rep. Ben Quayle (R-AZ) is charging $35 a head for a private lunch and meet-and-greet hosted by the Arizona Republican Lawyers Association. Rep. Chip Cravaack (R-MN) is charging $10 to attend a meeting held by supporters, the National Federation of Independent Businesses.

Meanwhile, GOPers across the country are putting the kibosh on free and open town halls and meet-and-greets. I know it's slightly unrelated, but I can't help thinking about Gabby Giffords, who almost lost her life for her dedication to public engagement with her constituents. Meanwhile, these politicians aren't brave enough to face tough questions. Politico:

Democratic Party of Wisconsin spokesman Graeme Zielinski said Ryan is scared to defend his record before his fellow citizens.

“Paul Ryan has had a hard time going before open crowds, and for good reason,” Zielinski said. “I’m sure Ryan doesn’t want to go before the public to explain while his extreme ideology caused Standard & Poor’s to downgrade U.S. long-term treasury bonds. Beside, Ryan likes smaller settings — the kind where you can cozy up to a hedge fund manager and get a good $350 bottle of wine.”


AlterNet / By Julianne Escobedo Shepherd

Posted at August 16, 2011, 5:52am

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