Rep. Frank injects his weight into debate

Sure, House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank (D-Mass.) is concerned about the crisis on Wall Street.

But something that has consistently weighed on him (pun intended) is hitting home on Main Street — his main street, that is: his weight.

“I wish this was a bill that reflected more of my priorities,” he said on the House floor Monday. “I wish I could eat more and not gain weight, but I have learned that acting imprudently on my wishes that cannot be realized is not helpful.”

One thing Frank has said helps keep his weight down is smoking cigars. In July, when proponents of legalizing marijuana visited the Capitol, Frank, who supports removing federal criminal penalties for small-time pot users, admitted to smoking cigars but not pot.

Cigars help keep his weight lower than it would be, he said.


Matsui — a member of Congress’s best friend

Reps. Doris Matsui (D-Calif.) and Hilda Solis (D-Calif.) are in sync these days. Earlier this month, ITK spotted the two congresswomen getting out of a silver BMW and heading into the Capitol for a midday vote. Last week we saw them together again, walking through the Speaker’s Lobby and onto the House floor.

Are they carpooling to votes, we wondered?

Not likely, said Matsui spokeswoman Alexis Marks. It must be coincidental, as Matsui usually walks to votes, she said.

“They’ve been friends for a while,” Marks said, noting that Solis has been helping Matsui adjust to her new committee appointment. Matsui joined Solis on the Energy and Commerce Committee in June after former Rep. Albert Wynn’s (D-Md.) resignation opened a spot on the panel.

Marks said her boss has lots of good friends amongst her colleagues, owing partly to her work on her other committee, the Rules Committee.

Her colleagues “all come to the Rules Committee at some point or another,” Marks said, naming seven Democratic lawmakers, Reps. Mike Thompson (Calif.), Anna Eshoo (Calif.), Lois Capps (Calif.), Jane Harman (Calif.), Louise Slaughter (N.Y.), Marion Berry (Ark.) and Kathy Castor (Fla.) as just a few of her boss’s closest colleagues.


Laughter in the courtroom at Sen. Steven’s trial

A witness testifying Tuesday afternoon in Sen. Ted Stevens’s (R-Alaska) gift-giving trial in U.S. District Court had a rather racy revelation about an annual fundraiser Stevens used to hold with lobbyists, Cabinet officials and members of Congress, on Alaska’s Kenai River, dubbed the world’s greatest fishing spot for salmon.

Jeri Best, who worked for a decade putting together the mid-summer fundraiser, said former Sen. Conrad Burns (R-Mont.) ran the auction, which included lavish gifts like a Royal Caribbean cruise, paintings and a barge ride from Seattle to Alaska.

She lauded Burns’s auctioneering: “The man can move his tongue like you wouldn’t believe,” she said, prompting laughter in the courtroom.


Fundraiser for Obama highlights 50 Most Beautiful

Shameless, this may be. But how could we resist?

Last week, young professionals calling themselves the “young and powerful” in Virginia, Maryland and D.C. hosted a fundraiser for Democratic presidential nominee Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.), calling it The Final Countdown. The fundraiser was held at the Park at Fourteenth in downtown Washington.

They promised it would be “one to remember.”

Admission was $50 per person. Confirmed special guests included Rep. Donna Edwards (D-Md.) and a host of other D.C.-area elected officials.

But the true stars of the event?

The invitation boasted appearances by some of The Hill’s 50 Most Beautiful, including the following beauties: (2008) Leo Schmid, Kristina Spiegel, Jenny Harp, Melody Gonzales, Kwame Canty, (2007) Ashley Futrell, Bonnie Allen and 2006’s No. 1 beauty, Michelle Persaud.

Some may remember the candidate himself, Obama, made the 50 Most Beautiful list the first year he came to the Senate, in 2006. He reached No. 2 on the list.