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Heard on the Hill: Not Exactly Good Sports

The publisher of a guide on complying with lobbying rules on Wednesday sent an e-mail noting a selection from the “Lobbying Compliance Handbook” that deals with a timely topic — paying for booze.

“We figured everyone’s going to be in the bars tonight,” said Elise Hill, an editor with Columbia Books & Information Services.

“Lobbyists can’t buy a Guinness specifically for a congressional member or staffer, but the ethics committees have given some guidance on when they might be able to cover a round of drinks for a group of people that includes a congressional member or staffer,” the e-mail says. Senate rules allow lobbyists to cover $10 worth of food “where such food items are normally offered to others,” while the “House standard is ‘group or social setting.’”

HOH suggests putting the guidelines on a laminated card that’s easy to read after a whiskey or two.

Political Bracketology. President Barack Obama revealed his NCAA tournament bracket picks Wednesday (he has the University of Kansas beating the University of Kentucky for the title), but the POTUS isn’t the only politician suffering from March Madness.

Sen. John Thune’s campaign is sponsoring a bracket challenge for supporters, awarding official Thune gear to those who submit the three most accurate predictions. (The top prize is a flashy Thune sweatshirt, with the second- and third-place finishers winning a handy coffee mug and water bottle, respectively).

The South Dakota Republican released his bracket, also predicting Kansas over Kentucky in the championship.

South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford, meanwhile, took a break from hiking the Appalachian Trail to release a mock bracket for “Big Government Basketball,” a spoof highlighting the “big government encroachment” of legislation such as health care reform, according to a release.

“Many view the current bill being debated as Congress’s version of March Madness, and we believe it represents a trillion dollar mistake,” Sanford said. He later added, “I’d once again urge all taxpayers to put on a full court press.”

Hoyer: Yadda, Yadda, Yiddish? House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer’s repeated references Wednesday to parricide might have raised a few eyebrows. After all, casual anecdotes about murdering one’s parents certainly aren’t the norm in political discourse.

The Maryland Democrat appeared on ABC’s “Good Morning America” with Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.), where he used a murderous analogy to describe the GOP’s opposition to Democratic leaders’ suggestion to pass health care legislation using a “deem and pass” strategy. Hoyer told host George Stephanopoulos that Republicans were like “the boy who killed both his parents and then wants sympathy because he’s an orphan.” Hoyer repeated a version of that metaphor during a later interview on MSNBC.

“Mr. Hoyer’s frustrations are understandable considering the year he’s had, but I’m not sure that murder is a good analogy for an early morning TV audience,” Cantor spokesman Brad Dayspring said.

But at least one faction wasn’t too surprised by the colorful language. The story of a boy who murders his parents and seeks mercy from the courts because he’s an orphan is a commonly cited definition for the Yiddish word “chutzpah.”

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