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Sheer Poe-try

And a Courtney spokesman says his boss is sensitive to patients who use medical marijuana. “Congressman Courtney believes that if a medicinal benefit of marijuana exists it should be researched in an effort to give comfort to those suffering from terminal or debilitating illnesses,” said spokesman Brian Farber.

Another freshman Democrat, Rep. Brad Ellsworth (Ind.), got a $1,000 check but returned it, a spokeswoman says. Ellsworth, a former sheriff and narcotics officer, isn’t supportive of smoking, even for its not-so-wacky medicinal purpose.

Republicans sought to turn the donations to the Democrats into a smoking gun of sorts. “To borrow a line from [Rep.] David Obey [D-Wis.], they must be ‘smoking something’ to accept money from such a questionable source,” one GOP aide smirked. Still, although they’re blowing smoke over the pot money, Republicans have taken bucks from the same “questionable source,” too.

Houston notes that previous GOP beneficiaries of the group’s largess include Reps. Dan Burton (Ind.) and Brian Bilbray (Calif.).

I’ll Get That. Don’t you love going out to fancy dinners with rich friends? When the check arrives, the moneyed folk swoop it up — and out of the paws of the poor — like it was kryptonite to the superpower of your relative poverty.

Rep. John Campbell (R-Calif.) is sponsoring a bill to make tax policy a little more like that dinner scenario. Under his bill, cleverly titled the Tax Me More Act of 2007, well-off people could voluntarily kick in more tax dollars than they technically owe.

The letter Campbell sent to GOP colleagues last week seeking original co-sponsors features photos of two of everyone’s favorite moneybag Democrats, Barbra Streisand and former Sen. John Edwards (N.C.). But a Campbell spokesman said though the two are just the poster boy (and girl) for the legislation, anyone “goofy enough” to want to pay Uncle Sam more could do so under the bill.

“When they talk about their favorite government program, people always say, ‘Oh, people would be willing to pay more in taxes for this’,” the spokesman said. “Here’s a chance to put their money where their mouth is.”

So far, the bill has attracted eight additional co-sponsors, and Campbell is hoping for a few more before he formally introduces the measure this week.

But what, HOH wants to know, will become of all those tax attorneys whose very lifeblood has been figuring out how their clients can pay the very least amount in taxes possible? Stay tuned for the follow-up bill, the Tax Lawyers Livelihood Protection Act of 2008.

White Tie and Tails. A few Members of Congress are among the folks who, in the immortal words of Fred Astaire, are steppin’ out “to breathe an atmosphere that simply reeks with class.”

On the guest list for the white-tie Monday night state dinner at the White House to honor Queen Elizabeth II were Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and her husband, Paul; House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) and his wife, Debbie; Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and wife, Labor Secretary Elaine Chao; and Senate Minority Whip Trent Lott (R-Miss.) and wife Tricia.

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