On Wednesday, Democratic rising-star and New York representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez took the occasion of the House Financial Services subcommittee hearing on issues of cannabis banking to bring to light a well-known but little-discussed congressional practice.
Lobbyists, looking for guaranteed seats in a hearing will often pay homeless people to hold their spot in line. Speaking truth-to-power, she noted that not only is it a shameful act that takes advantage of those less fortunate, but it disenfranchises the voices of everyday American people in favor of rich and powerful corporate lobbyists.
According to Ocasio-Cortez, those lobbying in favor of the cannabis industry are not immune to such practices.
“Today I left a hearing on homelessness & saw tons of people camped outside committee,” Ocasio-Cortez tweeted out on Wednesday. “I turned to my staff and asked if it was a demonstration.”
She continued her tweet, noting that her staff had informed her of the commonplace practice.
“This was the hearing for marijuana banking laws,” she added in a follow-up tweet. “Lobbyists and those who can afford it pay people to hold their spot, so they get in 1st.” Read more