Ellmers staffer denies 'pay-per-view' slam

Posted August 17, 2011

Congresswoman Renee Ellmers’ spokesman is taking issue with a Politico article that blasts Ellmers for “refusing to hold free, open town hall meetings for constituents” this month, but appearing at an event with an entry fee.

The story accuses Ellmers and fellow GOP Reps. Paul Ryan, Ben Quayle and Lou Barletta of trying avoid open public meetings that might be attended by angry constituents, preferring to appear only at events with an entry fee or other restrictions on access.

The report was quickly circulated by Democratic operatives in NC.

Spokesman Tom Doheny confirms Ellmers has no town hall meetings scheduled for August. But she will speak to the monthly meeting of the National Active and Retired Federal Employees in Fayetteville on Aug. 24th. Attendees are required to pay for a $13 lunch buffet.

“She was invited to speak to the group,” Doheny said. “She’s a guest speaker. The reason they’re charging an entrance fee is because they’re serving lunch. We wish they weren’t charging an entrance fee, but it’s their event.” 

Doheny said Ellmers had a town hall meeting in late spring, and is “planning on having a bunch” more soon. “She’s planning on having them in the fall, after people get back from vacations, so we can get the biggest bang for the buck.”

In the meantime, he said, Ellmers has been holding “tele-town halls,” conference calls with constituents. “We had one August 2nd, the day after the vote on the debt ceiling. The [invitation] call went out to 16,400 people. We had 5,000 people on the tele-town.”

“We’re trying to reach the largest amount of people possible,” Doheny said. “If we did a public town hall, we’d be lucky to get a couple hundred people at most. People really like it. They don’t have to drive. It’s right in their living room.”

The Politico report makes “tele-town halls” sound unusual, but they’re not. In fact, in 2008, another Politico story chronicled the calls' rising popularity among congressmembers.


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  • marktroll Aug 23, 2011

    lol this story is lame. another non story trying to poke at a republican. lets see a story about gov perdue vowing to support a med-mal bill, then she gets a huge donation from a trial lawyers group, then subsiquently vetoes the med mal bill. i think our beloved @capitalbeatreporter forgot to cover that one... woopsy. ps even under the dome ran a couple sentences on it.

  • matthewwood007 Aug 19, 2011

    Saying Politico is left wing is like saying Ruppert Murdoch's Wall Street Journal purchase curbed it's liberal lean

  • driverkid3 Aug 18, 2011

    I take what Politico pushes with a grain of salt or less. They are a tentacle of the democrat cult, and as far as I'm concerned not worth the powder and shot it would take to blow them up.

  • matthewwood007 Aug 18, 2011

    Really..... a telephone call for "invited parties" is supposed to replace my Representative answering questions face to face with her constituents? That is lame.
    And how much coverage did that Conservative conference call get? None
    Did you see the last Town Hall meeting Rep. Paul Ryan did after his plans to cut social services were announced? He was a media darling until then, but when the real people got a hold of him the shine wore off real quick
    If Renee Elmers had a real town hall, I believe, her innability to answer tough questions and the possible outrage that may be shown by average folk, might be a black eye that she can not risk. Especially now that the labratory created narrative is wearing off the tea party astro turf movement and the People of the Second District need a solid person defending our interests in the US House of Representatives