Controversy ensnares ‘Dash Gordon’ team

Rep. Bart Gordon (D-Tenn.) has been the subject of whispered controversy after his team “Dash Gordon” earlier this month won the ACLI Capital Challenge, a three-mile road race along Anacostia Drive, for the second year in a row.

Rivals were suspicious about a few new additions to his team. For instance, Laura Turner was ranked 10th nationally in the steeplechase at Stanford in 2002. And Conor Lanz, a two-time All-Patriot League cross country runner at American
University, was named the Patriot League’s cross country scholar-athlete of the year in 2006.

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Neither one works in Gordon’s office.

Gordon plucked Turner from a rival team. In 2004, Turner, who works for the House clerk, helped lead Rep. Jay Inslee’s (D-Wash.) team to a fourth-place finish. (In 2005, she ran for the clerk’s office and last year missed the race.)
Lanz has become a target of scrutiny because his name does not appear in House directories for 2006 and 2007. ACLI rules state that House teams must be chosen from congressional staff or from the immediate family of lawmakers serving as team captains.

The race website states ominously that teams with members who do not comply with the rules “leave themselves open to
censure.”

Gordon seemed to incriminate himself when asked about his team at a wine-tasting event hosted last week by the Embassy of New Zealand.

“We had ringers this year,” said Gordon, perhaps emboldened by a few sips of Sauvignon Blanc.

But spokeswoman Julie Eubank defended her boss’s honor, saying that until last Wednesday Lanz was an unpaid fellow who worked in Gordon’s office three days a week while finishing up his master’s degree. She was not sure of his present whereabouts.

Including Gordon, Eubank said that “three of the four members have had affiliation with our office.”

“Brent and Chris have been running with Bart for years,” she added, referring to Chris King, a staff member of the Science Committee, which Gordon chairs, and Brent Ayer, who formerly served as Gordon’s chief of staff and now handles administrative matters for several House offices. 

For winning the race, each member of Gordon’s team won a pair of embroidered socks.


Monicas past and present

We can’t blame Rep. Chris Cannon for letting his mind wander back to brighter days for his party. We guess that the Utah Republican can’t help but think of the time when the GOP was in charge and had President Bill Clinton on the run as he tried to defend his behavior with a young woman interning at the White House.

That’s what must have happened May 23, when Cannon took to the microphone at a press conference and declared, “We finished the hearing of Monica … uhhh … geez …”

A reporter threw him a bone, reminding him that it was in fact Monica Goodling who had just testified before the House Judiciary Committee to answer accusations that she was inappropriately political in executing her job as a former liaison between the Department of Justice and the White House.

Cannon was grateful for the help.

“Goodling, for crying out loud. We don’t want to mix these Monicas up, up course — any Monicas up. Not these, but any,” Cannon babbled.

Oh, how times have changed.


Bono, Hill staffer among list of singles who ‘dazzle’

hen a Washington publication puts out a “Little Black Book” issue, plenty of power brokers may have reason to get more than a little nervous.

 Not to worry, though. Capitol File magazine’s May 25 issue does not include Jeane Palfrey’s reportedly disappointing client list. Washingtonians would theoretically want to be included in this story, which ticks off 99 local singles who “dazzle and delight” in the capital city.

 Congressional aides who picked up the magazine were quick to notice that they received light treatment in the list. Maybe they are working too much, or maybe they are talking policy too much in the bedroom, but only one member of Congress and one lucky bachelor employed by Congress were included.

 Rep. Mary Bono (R-Calif.) and Phil Park, chief of staff to Sen. George Voinovich (R-Ohio), will have to represent the rest of the legislative branch on their own. But magazine Editor in Chief Kate Gibbs said Congress’s collective feelings should not be hurt.

Although Gibbs would not reveal her publication’s methodology in building the list, she said it was never intended to be comprehensive.

 “We could have done a ‘Little Black Book’ and put 1,000 people in it,” she said, but she set out instead just to provide a “snapshot” to remind this city that there are lots of good options out there. “My only requirement was: no ring.”

 Gibbs said most of the men and women who made the list were initially shy about being photographed for the story, and Park was no different.

 “I think he was appropriately cautious,” Gibbs said.

We can report that he remains cautious. Park did not respond to e-mail and telephone requests for an interview on his new
honor.
 
Alexander Bolton contributed to this page.