Not surprising, but it looks like lobbyists are having homeless guys wait out lines on Capital Hill for them. This sounds like an old, unspoken trick not really worth mentioning, except CNN had someone on camera talking openly about it.

The CNN report dropped earlier this week, but video just showed up today. Here's the practice: lobbyists need to get into congressional hearings on things, but they often get packed in, and they need placeholders in line to wait it out for them.

Unfortunately, this pisses off people, for example: the ones who can't pay to have people hold places in lines for them. Like, say, the environmentalists:

Kalen Pruss, a fellow at the Internet environmental group, and her group of cheering green T-shirted environmentalists were shut out of the hearing. "It's very unfortunate that the people who come here to line-stand always beat us here cause they can stand here all night," Pruss said.

On one hand, this is definitely just another example of lobbyists with money - who often come from corporate interests, because corporate interests have money - buying time, space, and influence. On another hand, it's somewhat exploitative of the homeless. And on the other hand, it's putting income in the hands of people who didn't have it before someone told them to stand somewhere for eight hours, a job pretty much anybody's qualified for, so long as they show up.

Whatever. If treehuggin' Phish Phans can strap themselves to trees to save their foliage friends, they can certainly stand in line with some homeless dudes. Honestly, they need the money. We all do. And if we can take it from corporations and put it into the the pockets of people who're otherwise down on their luck in a system that's already subverted daily, it can't be that bad, can it?


Homeless stand in for lobbyists on Capitol Hill [CNN]