I disagree with the assertion that EVERY group requiring an application or a access fee is a scam. Without a doubt, it is less than ideal. But I feel I have gone to reputable organizations that required a fee to pitch, and talking to them about it, they did so for two reasons:
1. To offset logistics costs - this to me sounded like a very BAD reason, especially considering the investors are the ones with excess funds, not the entrepreneurs
2. To screen for serious candidates - unlike most people on this thread, I have to say I think this one is at least a legitimate goal on their part, but not necessarily effective. The group of Angels I presented in front of had 30 other presentations that day, each with a $250 fee to present, and a friend in the crowd told me that 90% were terrible presentations (not that the idea was bad, but the entrepreneurs were unprepared or simply did not present well). That being said, after being told I was in the top 2 that day, I wasn't passed through because no one outside the room watched the video of the presentation and voted for my company.
Was it a waste? Too early to tell. The application fee covers two pitch rounds, so I'll be going through it again after we're launched, and hopefully the traction we have with customers is too compelling to ignore.
Overall, I would say, it's less than ideal to have someone require you to pay. It shouldn't hurt to ask why they require a fee, if it's for screening, ask for a waiver. If it's not granted, I disagree with most of the posts to say you should just rule it out. It may still be worth it, but you still have to do your diligence to polish your pitch, find out who's going to be in the room, and if possible build relationships before and after the pitch.
However, I do concede to the stronger argument against paying fees that says you would be better served spending the time identifying high potential investors (i.e., good fit with your model, industry, etc.) and hustling to get meetings with them.
I hope that's helpful.