Ocasio-Cortez expresses shock at people paid to stand in line for access to hearings

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezSteve Bullock puts Citizens United decision at center of presidential push Fix the climate with smaller families Dem Sen. Markey faces potential primary challenge in Massachusetts MORE (D-N.Y.) tweeted on Wednesday that she was shocked to discover that people are paid to hold spots in line before congressional hearings.

The freshman lawmaker from the Bronx said it was wrong that people with the means could pay people in order to secure the best seating at an open-to-the-public hearing. 

"Shock doesn’t begin to cover it. Today I left a hearing on homelessness & saw tons of people camped outside committee," she tweeted. "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.'"

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In a second tweet, Ocasio-Cortez acknowledged that hiring people to stand in line, something that can easily be done through services such as TaskRabbit, is a common occurrence in Washington.

But she lamented the fact that people with the means can pay can get their spots before people who can't. 

And she suggested it was wrong that people have come to accept it.

"Apparently this is a normal practice, and people don’t bat an eye," she tweeted. "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."

 

Hiring people to stand in line is a practice that goes well beyond congressional hearings. It's a common practice for Supreme Court seating, as well as to get a table at a popular restaurant that does not have reservations.