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Funny Money

Comedian Dave Chappelle famously concluded his now-defunct Comedy Central series with the line “I’m rich, biatch!” And since it’s probably true — the comedian is reportedly worth heaps of money — he needs a place to stash all that cash, like the House-side credit union.

Chappelle on Wednesday paid a visit to the branch of the Congressional Federal Credit Union located in the basement of the Longworth House Office Building, surprising staffers and fans who clearly weren’t expecting to see a superstar among the badge-wearing folks cashing checks and making deposits.

HOH spies say the suit-wearing comedian cheerfully signed autographs and posed for pictures while in the Longworth basement, at one point informing the crowd around him he was “pleased to report I’m alive” (he was reportedly hospitalized for exhaustion earlier this month), prompting a cheer from the gathered groupies.

An employee of the Office of the Chief Administrative Officer who sidled up to Chappelle tells HOH the comedian was “really cool and laid-back” and playfully asked him what the “CAO” emblazoned on his shirt stood for. “He asked if it was a gang,” the employee tells HOH.

Chappelle told some onlookers that he was doing a bit of banking. Membership to the credit union is limited to Members of Congress, House staffers and other “select employee groups,” according to the credit union’s Web site. Chappelle might be eligible through his family connections, since his mother was reportedly once a staffer for former Rep. Charles Diggs (D-Mich.).

Chappelle’s been turning up all over town recently; CNN White House correspondent (and HOH alumnus) Ed Henry bumped into the comedian outside the White House gates on July 20 and wrote an account of their meeting on CNN.com.

Chappelle is no stranger to D.C., since he grew up in the area and attended the Duke Ellington School for the Arts. And he’s paid at least one visit to the Capitol before, getting a tour last spring from a high school buddy who’s a member of the Capitol Police force.

The Case of the Missing Butterfly. So maybe it’s not the famous theft of the “Mona Lisa” from the Louvre, but the case of a missing painting from a House office has all the markings of an art-heist whodunit.

The mystery began a few weeks ago when Wisconsin Rep. Steve Kagen’s staff tried to return the painting, which was last year’s Badger State finalist in the annual Congressional artwork contest, to its rightful owner, high schooler Stephanie Smith. The pointillist depiction of a purple butterfly had been on display in the Democratic Congressman’s personal office before staffers took it down to make room for this year’s winner. But after scouring the office (surely doing their best Sherlock Holmes impersonations with magnifying glasses and pipes in hand), they didn’t turn up anything except a few dust bunnies. But the staffers-turned-art detectives didn’t stop there.

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