Recently, congressional Republicans have started limiting constituent access by appearing only in venues where a fee is charged. (More)

It is not surprising that Republicans do not want to meet with their constituents. After their performance during the debt ceiling votes where Americans watched in horror as the tea party wing of the Republican party decided they wanted to see what global economic chaos looked like up close (ooh, cool!), the approval rating for congress is now at an all time low in two separate polls.

Just last week in North Carolina, Rep. Patrick McHenry (R) got an earful when he spouted off about the “red ink in Washington”. He was then asked by a constituent to “explain how your voting record has in any way helped the working people in this room.” (Hint: Votes on raising the debt ceiling do not create jobs).

So it is not shocking that three congressmen decided that the best venue was one where people had to pay to meet with them.

Congressman Paul Ryan (R-WI) decided to limit his constituent access during the current recess to a single event with a $15 cover charge:

It will cost $15 to ask Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) a question in person during the August congressional recess.

The House Budget Committee chairman isn’t holding any face-to-face open-to-the-public town hall meetings during the recess, but like several of his colleagues he will speak only for residents willing to open their wallets.

(No word on whether they could bring a bottle of Chateau de Ripple 2011 in lieu of the entry fee).

Freshman tea party congressman Rep. Ben Quayle (R-AZ) is following suit:

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-MN ME MN) will appear only with lobbying friends by his side to keep him safe, we presume:

Rep. Chip Cravaack (R-Minn.) took heat in Duluth this weekend for holding private events in his district’s population and media center — including a $10-per-head meeting to be 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 longtime Congressman Jim Oberstar in the 2010 election.”

The Think Progress town hall project has dozens of Republican town halls gone awry in their archives including some particularly uncomfortable moments for Rep. Ryan , Rep. Cravaack and Rep. Quayle.


Is there anything wrong with limiting constituent contact to venues that require admission?

To clear up any confusion, should congressmen have lists, similar to the bribe menu of Rep. Randall “Duke” Cunningham, that show the level of contact you may have for a given fee level?

Now that we have established what GOP congressmen really are, are we simply haggling over the price?


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