Can you say exhaustive? The vetting process for Cabinet officers is veering into TMI-land (thats shorthand for too much information, oldsters), according to a source knowledgeable about the confirmation process for Eric Holder, President-elect Barack Obamas pick to be attorney general.
HOHs source said Holder met with Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy on Monday in preparation for his Senate confirmation and, in the interest of full disclosure, revealed to Leahy a skeleton in his closet that hadnt made it into the disclosure forms: a speeding ticket issued Nov. 13 in North Carolina.
The speed-happy AG-wannabe was busted whilst cruising along at 90 miles an hour in a 70 mile-an-hour zone, he fessed up to Leahy. The charge was eventually reduced to 79 miles an hour, our source says, and the whole matter was resolved when Holder forked over a $146 fine.
Leahy seemed sympathetic. After methodically completing the arduous background vetting process, its easy to imagine his chagrin when he saw those flashing lights in the rearview mirror, Leahy tells HOH.
Were guessing a little speeding ticket wont be the apparently squeaky-clean Holders Zoe Baird (remember the Clinton-era AG nomination that stalled when it was revealed that she hired illegal immigrants as nannies and chauffeurs?) moment.
And our source swears that after coughing up the bucks and having to come clean to the Senate about the ticket, Holders learned his lesson. While Eric Holder has made it clear he will be swift in reforming the Justice Department, hes going to slow it down a bit on the open road, our knowledgeable source promises.
President-in-Waiting ... and Waiting. HOH reported earlier this month that Barack Obama isnt technically the president-elect, even though thats what everyone from newspapers (Roll Call included) to Senators are calling the guy these days. We noted, thanks to a geeky tipster and a college professor, that he wouldnt officially be elected president until the Electoral College votes on Monday.
But it seems poor Obama whom we can only refer to as Mr. Obama, since he gave up his Senate seat will have to wait even a little longer to get that coveted title.
HOH checked with the House Parliamentarians office, which informed us that the date on which Obama gets to claim the
president-elect mantle is actually Jan 8. Parliamentarian John Sullivan says thats when the two chambers of Congress hold a joint session at which the electoral votes are actually counted and the vice president officially declares a winner.
The joint session is largely ceremonial, Sullivan said, although he noted that its not always drama-free: In 2005, Democrats objected to Ohios votes and lawmakers went back to their respective chambers before resuming the joint session, in which President George W. Bush eventually was declared the victor.
Gridiron Griping Grips Congress. Deep in the heart of Texas, college football fans are seething with disappointment. And Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas) is among them.
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