Tired of being harassed and embarrassed by angry constituents—and, of course, always in need of cash—congressmen such as Paul Ryan, Ben Quayle, and Chip Cravaack are eschewing open town halls and instead are charging for access over this August recess, reports Politico. Questioning Ryan at an upcoming luncheon will cost you $15. Cravaack's upcoming meeting is a cheaper $10. And lunch with Quayle on Aug. 23 costs $35.
A rep for Ryan says the lawmaker will host telephone town hall meetings this month, and adds that Ryan played no part of the Whitnall Park Rotary Club’s choice to charge that $15 entry fee. Writing for Politico, Reid Epstein counters that politicians who outsource their meetings to third parties can keep out the bulk of the angry public, sidestep YouTube embarrassments, and ensure smoother, PR-friendly events that raise a little money to boot. And while such paid events are nothing new, admits Epstein, in the past they were accompanied by free, public town hall meetings.