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Everybody Wants to Be a Director

If you see random tourists, or perhaps even seasoned (but notoriously low-paid) reporters, chasing Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) with their camera phones in hand, it may be less about the Iraq War and more because they’re a bit cash-strapped.

The Sunlight Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to promoting government transparency, is offering $500 for the first video capturing McConnell “on record, answering (or refusing to answer)” who has a super-secret “anonymous hold” on a bill that would require Senators to file their campaign finance reports electronically, rather than the current practice of filing only on paper, according to Sunlight’s new Web site, WhatsMcConnellHiding.com.

“Show up at his office in Kentucky or in DC, catch him as he’s boarding a plane to or from Louisville, try to flag him at an event. Capture him on video telling you who is behind the block on S. 223,” the site entreats. The winner’s video will be posted on YouTube.

The Sunlight Foundation also ponied up for a billboard — asking “What’s McConnell Hiding?” — strategically located in McConnell’s hometown of Louisville, on Interstate 65 near the Kentucky Fair and Exposition Center.

McConnell spokesman Don Stewart dismissed the stunt, saying, “A billboard in Kentucky won't encourage the Majority Leader from Nevada to bring the bill to the floor.”

True, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) could schedule the bill for floor consideration and jump through all the time-consuming procedural hoops that anonymous holds require. Twice this year, Democratic bill sponsors have attempted to bring up and pass the bill without amendment or debate, only to be thwarted by a dastardly — we assume — “anonymous” Republican Senator (or Senators).

Stewart points out, however, “As Sen. McConnell told Roll Call earlier, the objection wasn’t to the bill. It wasn’t to ‘sunlight.’ ... The objection was raised so that there would be a debate in the sunshine of the Senate floor, in front of the C-SPAN cameras.”

Indeed, McConnell did talk to Roll Call weeks ago about the hold. The reporter he spoke with now feels cheated by this Sunlight Foundation contest, having neglected to catch the momentous brush-off on camera.

She’s Also Huge in Belgium. A couple of weeks ago, “Who is [Speaker] Nancy Pelosi [D-Calif.]?” was the correct answer — actually, question — in the final category of an episode of “Jeopardy!”

But while that “Jeopardy!” question — or rather, answer — concerned a quote from Pelosi’s inaugural speech as Speaker, maybe the answer should have been, “This Speaker recently became the highest-ranking American ever to visit Greenland.”

Yes, Pelosi now holds that honor. Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) dropped that bombshell at a press conference Friday with Pelosi on global warming issues.

“We were told by officials in Greenland, that as they look back at their records, that Speaker Pelosi is the highest-ranking American official to ever visit Greenland,” Markey said. “The significance of that cannot be reinforced enough.”

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