By Jeff Dufour - 03/07/06 12:00 AM EST
Who was that among the stars and starlets — sitting down low, no less — at the Oscars on Sunday? None other than Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.). Markey’s mug appeared on camera about a half-dozen times during the telecast.
Details were scarce at press time, but Markey’s spokeswoman said the congressman “had a chance to purchase a ticket, and he took it.”
Smart move, because a seat at the Oscars is among the toughest to get in the world of high-profile events.
“That’s a pretty significant ticket,” one L.A. insider said, impressed.
Arianna Huffington also spotted Markey and his wife, Susan Blumenthal, at Ari Emanuel’s hot pre-Oscar party with Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa (D).
On the Huffington Post blog, Arianna writes that Hollywood superagent Emanuel, who happens to be the brother of Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.), “put not one but two tents in the backyard of his sumptuous new home, which comes complete with a basketball court — indoor, of course.”
As for the other Emanuel, he was home in Chicago for the big night, according to his spokeswoman.
But he still got to hold an Oscar. Yesterday, Emanuel toured the factory of his district’s own R.S. Owens & Co., which manufactures the Oscar statuettes.
Courtesy of Moran’s office
A Rep in the Hat
Lobbyist plays Sunset Strip
In a turn of events that would make the Blues Brothers proud, a Washington lobbyist resurrected his law-school bar band and this weekend played a gig at the world-famous Viper Room on the Sunset Strip in Los Angeles.
As the frontman of the Surreal McCoys during his salad days at Notre Dame law school, Erik Huey played to jam-packed houses around South Bend, Ind. But after graduation, the band’s five members drifted apart.
Huey has spent the past 13 years representing entertainment-industry clients at Venable LLP. That is, until this fall, he said, “when we got the call — we’re putting the band back together.” And after a gig in South Bend, fortune struck. The band’s bassist, who Huey says is signed with a “real band” through Def Jam records, got them a date at the Viper Room over Oscars weekend.
“To walk on that stage was an honor,” he said from L.A. yesterday. “Being a rock star is not a dissimilar skill set to being a lobbyist,” he said. “It comes down to connecting with people.”
The McCoys’ hour-long set before a packed house included everything from Hank Williams to Neil Young to the Replacements. “We punk most of them up,” he said. Plus, “if you pick obscure enough covers and put a twist on them, people think they’re your own.”
Washingtonians may soon be able to decide for themselves. He said they’re tentatively planning a D.C. gig for this fall.
Senate votes: The tale of the tape
When Sen. Pat Leahy (D-Vt.) last week joined the exclusive circle of senators who have cast 12,000 roll-call votes, he could have been looking over his shoulder at three colleagues who are approaching the same milestone.
They are Sens. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.), Paul Sarbanes (D-Md.) and Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), who had cast 10,989, 10,969 and 10, 815 votes, respectively, as of the end of February, according to Doug Connolly of the Senate Democratic Policy Committee.
Four other sitting senators are closing in on the 10,000-vote mark: Carl Levin (D-Mich.) with 9,901, John Warner (R-Va.) with 9,875, Max Baucus (D-Mont.) with 9,791 and Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) with 9,716.
But no one has much of a chance of beating the all-time champion in the roll-call race, Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.), who has cast his ballot 17,532 times, although Sens. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) with 14,449, Dan Inouye (D-Hawaii) with 14,357 and Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) with 14,150 could possibly pull it off.
Leahy joins Sens. Pete Domenici (R-N.M.) with 12,792 and Joe Biden (D-Del.) with 12,136 in the 12,000 club.
Only four others in the history of the Senate, all now deceased, achieved comparable voting records: Sens. Claiborne Pell (D-R.I.) with more than 13,000 votes, William Proxmire (D-Wis.) and William Roth (R-Del.) with more than 12,000 and Quentin Burdick (D-N.D.) with just fewer than 12,000.
Any way you look at it, that’s an awful lot of yeas and nays.
GOP and tech lobbyists: Appearances be damned!
Despite congressional Republicans’ jostling over how to reform the rules governing member and staff interaction with lobbyists, party leaders in the House had no problem inviting a roomful of tech lobbyists to attend the unveiling of their competitiveness and innovation agenda for 2006 last week in the Cannon Caucus Room.
And at least one leading Republican in the room was brazen about his cozy relationship with the industry.
Rules Committee Chairman David Dreier (R-Calif.) cited a newspaper headline saying he was in the “hip pocket” of the high-tech lobby and said he “proudly pleads guilty” to helping an industry that has been responsible for so much growth in the gross domestic product in recent years.
A technology-industry insider, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Dreier has indeed been one of the sector’s best friends over the past few years. He said Dreier’s one of the few who “get it.” But, he cautioned, Dreier likely isn’t in it for the cash because the tech sector is notoriously inept at political giving.
Simmons bowls for dollars
Once the upscale Lucky Strike bowling alley opened last fall in the new Gallery Place complex, it was only a matter of time before lawmakers started throwing fundraisers there.
Rep. Rob Simmons (R-Conn.) was among the first last night, as he hosted a “Casual Monday Bowling Night.”
Simmons’s group had its own private group of lanes for the $250-per-individual, $1,000-per-PAC event. Sponsorships, which got you a team of four bowlers, were $2,500. The Simmons camp even promised attendees their own bowling shirts.
As for future bowling opportunities, prepare for members to lighten your wallet with more events to come.
A spokeswoman for Lucky Strike said there have been a couple other political events there thus far and there will be many more to come.
Some may even be from David Bowser of Increase Strategies, who organized Simmons’s event.
“I’ve been keeping an eye on it for about six months, even before it opened,” Bowser said.
Albert Eisele contributed to this page.