Freshman lawmaker hits Rangel in head

Freshman Rep. Laura Richardson (D-Calif.), the newest member of Congress, may not win a spot on the Ways and Means Committee anytime soon. Last week she managed to hit Ways and Means Chairman Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.) in the head as the two rode a Capitol elevator. Rangel was seen exiting the elevator holding the top of his head while Richardson apologized profusely. Rep. Mel Watt (D-N.C.) witnessed the incident.

Richardson, who replaced the late Rep. Juanita Millender-McDonald (D-Calif.), was sworn into office last month.

The congresswoman’s spokes­woman, Jasmyne Cannick, had no comment on the matter by press time. Aides in Rangel’s office said they knew of no long-lasting damage from the incident. “It definitely hasn’t affected his ability to keep up with his busy schedule,” said Elbert Garcia, who works in Rangel’s New York office.



Bushes snub The Palm

The party to celebrate the reopening of The Palm on Thursday night promises to be a grand affair with many famous-for-Washington faces in the crowd, such as ABC’s George Stephanopoulos, CBS’s Bob Schieffer, D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty and Capitol Hill’s favorite couple, Reps. Mary Bono (R-Calif.) and Connie Mack (R-Fla.).

But some big powerhouses — the Bushes — have turned down an invitation to come see the new, beautiful, glass-enclosed veranda that the restaurant spent six weeks creating while it shut down for part of the summer. President Bush has never visited The Palm, which draws the ire of The Palm’s manager, Tommy Jacomo (in contrast, Jacomo notes, former President Clinton has dined here on numerous occasions).

Ex-President George H.W. Bush has also dined here; he, too, was invited to the party but declined, saying in a note he had another party to attend down the street at the White House.

Other notables who turned down The Palm included former Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe, the campaign chairman for Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton’s (D-N.Y.) presidential campaign, and Abigail Blunt, wife of Rep. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.).



Ex-staffer writes political thriller

Rick Robinson, a former aide to Sen. Jim Bunning (R-Ky.), has written a fictitious account of running for Congress. The novel, The Maximum Contribution, releases on Nov. 1 but can be purchased now on Amazon.com for $24.95.

Robinson swears the book is a work of fiction, not based on Bunning or any politician. What “real” people do exist in the book have all assumed fictitious roles with made-up names. “Names are changed to protect the guilty,” Robinson says.

Robinson paints a sinister Washington. When a congressman dies in office, Richard Thompson, a small-town Kentucky councilman, runs for the seat. When he doesn’t agree with the establishment politics, corrupt (not to mention dangerous) lobbyists have it in for him. One night after dinner at The Palm followed by drinks at the hotel bar, Thompson wakes up with a red-headed stripper named Amber. He remembers none of it, but pictures are taken.

Robinson says he based the book on his 30 years working in politics. He worked for Bunning between 1987 and 1993 when the senator served in the House, handling the congressman’s banking issues on the Finance Committee. Robinson worked for several campaigns and ran for Congress in 1998 for the Ketucky-4 seat. He lost in the GOP primary.

Robinson left Capitol Hill when President Clinton was sworn in. “The town wasn’t big enough for the both of us,” jokes Robinson. “So I let Bill have the town.”

The book, at times, reads like a Harlequin novel with cheap love scenes. The sex scenes are stilted, to put it mildly. “I’m the superhero of wonks,” Thompson says to his attractive blue- and green-eyed wife, Ann. “Throwing his shower towel around his neck as if it were a cape, he grabbed Ann …”

The author says he wasn’t trying to be too salacious as far as sex scenes go. “I was trying to be titillating without going over the top,” he says. “I was trying to be PG-13.”

Robinson says he wanted to offer an insider’s vantage point of a campaign. Of course, a sex scandal was a given. “If you write a book about Washington and sex scandals, all you have to do is wait six weeks and it will be new again,” says Robinson.

When the former aide worked in Congress, two scandals occurred — the banking scandal, in which several members left Congress, and a sex scandal involving former Rep. Donald “Buzz” Lukens (R-Ohio), the congressman who worked just across the hall from Bunning. Lukens received a 30-day jail sentence for having sex with a 16-year-old girl. He was also under scrutiny in the House for allegedly fondling a Capitol elevator operator. In 1990, the House allowed him to resign rather than face expulsion.

“Getting out of our office to go to the restroom was a challenge,” he recalled. “Cameras were waiting outside and word was that [Lukens] was stuck inside his office for two days.”

Robinson, who lives in Fort Mitchell, Ky., is still in close touch with Bunning. Two weeks ago the pair caught up at the Kentucky Cup horse races, where Bunning purchased Robinson’s novel. A secret fact about Bunning: “Bunning is a phenomenal horse handicapper,” says Robinson. “He never walks away from a racetrack without winning.”



Second Amendments to perform tomorrow

The Second Amendments, a House band comprised of Reps. Collin Peterson (D-Minn.), Jon Porter (R-Nev.), Kenny Hulshof (R-Mo.), Dave Weldon (R-Fla.) and Thaddeus McCottter (R-Mich.), are set to host the Big House Foundation for the “Rock the House” jam session featuring Jaimoe and Oteil Burbridge of the The Allman Brothers Band.

Time: 6 p.m.
Date: Thursday, Oct. 11
Place: 1300 Longworth House Office Building
Comic Lewis Black to perform at DC Coast

XM Satellite Radio hosts a launch party for “POTUS ’08” on Oct. 16 at DC Coast (1401 K St. NW). Lewis Black, the comedian who routinely performs on “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart,” is set to perform.



Announcements

Lobbyist and wife say hello to fashionably late daughter  

“Baby McKay” was born last Thursday night after 35 hours of labor (from induction). The baby girl was a week late.

“We don’t have a name yet,” wrote Ben McKay, senior vice president of the Property Casualty Insurers Association, the night after his wife, Danielle, came out of labor. “Since she was born on 10/4, we are just calling her ‘good buddy’ for now (if you are not country folk you might not get that).”

A few days later, the couple happened upon a name: Maggie Broughton McKay. Maggie is named for McKay’s grandmother; Broughton is Danielle’s maiden name.

“She is doing great.,” McKay wrote. “She weighs 7 lbs 14 ounces and is 22 inches long. She was dunking on the other babies in the nursery last night. Mommy Danielle is recovering nicely. Daddy’s a mess but he’ll recover too.”