Watchdog to Ryan: Constituents Shouldn’t Have to Pay Money to Speak to their Elected Officials

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Washington, D.C—Campaign finance watchdog Public Campaign Action Fund sent a letter to Congressman Paul Ryan (R-WI.) today questioning his decision to not hold open town hall forums, but instead hold events where attendees are required to pay to speak with the House Budget Committee Chair. In addition, the group is requesting that Ryan release the full list of his “business tour” stops, including whether executives of those businesses have made donations to his campaign or leadership political action committee.

From the letter signed by David Donnelly, national campaigns director for Public Campaign Action Fund:

“When you are out of work, you don’t have the luxury of spending money to speak to your elected official. In America, it should never be a luxury to meet with your elected representative.”

“We are also concerned that your tour of businesses in your district is similarly structured to avoid contact with constituents who are bearing the brunt during this difficult time. We respectfully request that you release the full list of the names and locations of, and the scheduled visits to, these businesses. We also urge you to disclose if any executives at the workplaces you plan to visit are donors to your campaign or your leadership political action committee.

According to news reports this morning, “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.”

In addition, Ryan’s spokesman said that the congressman would be “holding business tours,” without providing details of those tours.