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.”
Shock doesn’t begin to cover it.— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) February 13, 2019
Today I left a hearing on homelessness & saw tons of people camped outside committee.
I turned to my staff and asked if it was a demonstration.
“No,” they said. “Lobbyists pay the homeless + others to hold their place so they can get in 1st.” pic.twitter.com/mXbgqkKp4P
“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.”
Apparently this is a normal practice, and people don’t bat an eye.— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) February 13, 2019
The first few people in line are guaranteed a seat in a given hearing.
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:
Gives new meaning to "government of the people, by the people and for the people"...this is government for the lobbyists & special interests. The fact that they are preying on the poor & disenfranchised makes it even more disturbing. Thanks for shedding light on this @AOC https://t.co/XAZhJ4rk0I— Ameshia Cross (@AmeshiaCross) February 14, 2019
For those wondering why Ocasio-Cortez has gained such a following. This is a big reason: She displays genuine shock at Washington practices that are considered standard to insiders but are shocking a large number of average Americans. https://t.co/S9rh36dwlA— Jason Le Miere (@JasonLeMiere) February 13, 2019
This is real? How long has this been going on? It’s pretty disturbing that this is being done. It’s like waiting in line for concert tickets or the iPhone but this is for lobbyists... https://t.co/vMmkXOi1Yb— Clay Eltzroth (@Clay1016) February 14, 2019
Outrageous and shameful. Such is the value of human life to many. https://t.co/2XYPqqtpSr— Erik Sherman (@ErikSherman) February 13, 2019
I was shocked when I saw this for the first time too. It’s good to see Washington through the eyes of a newcomer. https://t.co/Ejje64oajP— Sheryl Gay Stolberg (@SherylNYT) February 13, 2019
insane. thank you for pulling the wool back. https://t.co/hqby1cu5zV— Jude LaJude (@jdry) February 13, 2019
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This article originally appeared on HuffPost.