- Posted August 18, 2012 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Romney's VP pick
Paul Ryan's Pay Per View Town Hall Meetings
Would you pay $15 to see a movie you know you would not like? Maybe you disliked the actors or the storyline so why would you waste your money? Or, what if you really wanted to see the movie and just did not have the funds? Congressman Paul Ryan might have thought the same when he decided to start charging his constituents $15 to meet with him at town hall meetings in Southeastern Wisconsin last year.
In Southeastern Wisconsin, you had to pay to speak to Congressman Paul Ryan. In August 16, 2011, Reid J. Epstein of Politico reported,
“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.
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.”
I remember reading about Ryan’s upcoming town hall meetings and was completely stunned that a Congressperson would charge his constituents a fee just to talk to him. After all, we voted him into office and paid for his salary, insurance, and other benefits. But, then I realized what was happening. By charging an admission fee, Ryan would effectively exclude the residents who did not support or agree with him as well as those of lower income. By filling the room disproportionally with his supporters (those willing to pay to be present), he would look good and well-loved in front of the press. He had been known to verbally reprimand upset tax payers not to shout because the media was filming. See the below video at 1:05:
Our Constitution established a system whereby elected officials are beholden to the people they represent. It is unethical and exclusionary for any congressman to restrict access by forcing constituents to pay to attend a public forum. If Paul Ryan is elected Vice President, Ticketmaster just might have to get involved.