Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Says 'Shock Doesn't Begin To Cover' This Lobbying Tactic

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) continues to pull back the curtain on what Congress is really like.

On Wednesday, the freshman lawmaker highlighted the way in which lobbyists and others who can afford it pay people — including some who are homeless — to wait in line for them outside committee hearings.

“Shock doesn’t begin to cover it,” tweeted Ocasio-Cortez.

Initially, she wrote, she believed the “tons of people” she saw outside the committee room were part of a demonstration.

But an aide set her straight, explaining how “lobbyists pay the homeless + others to hold their place so they can get in 1st.”

“Apparently this is a normal practice, and people don’t bat an eye,” the congresswoman wrote in a second post.

“The first few people in line are guaranteed a seat in a given hearing,” she added. “This was the hearing for marijuana banking laws. Lobbyists and those who can afford it pay people to hold their spot so they get in 1st.”

CNN reported on the paid place-holding phenomenon back in 2009, noting that line-standers could earn $11 to $35 per hour.

Fellow tweeters thanked Ocasio-Cortez, whose five-minute explainer on the flaws in campaign finance laws went viral last week, for refocusing attention on the practice:


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