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Heard on the Hill: Can We Ask the Question First?

Categorically denying something AFTER the accusation is so yesterday. For the cutting edge in misdirection, please see the tongue-tied staffers we’ve placed at the Annapolis, Md., shindig that swiftly curtailed the employment of aides in Mississippi Republican Rep. Steven Palazzo’s office.

They have crafted the hastily assembled, totally pre-emptive, nondenial denial.

“Our office has done a thorough internal review of the incident, and we found that none of our staffers were involved in inappropriate conduct that would impact their official duties,” said a statement HOH was handed at the office of Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-Texas). It was attributed to District Director Monica Ledesma.

Umm. We haven’t asked our question yet.

The HOH story about the ill-fated fete that came to a head over the Columbus Day weekend — Wanton boozing! Impersonating a Congressman! Promises of pecans! — opened the floodgates for corroborating evidence about other Congressional staffers who were on hand for the soiree.

So we attempted to do our journalistic duty, tracing back tips and leads involving various aides, including some folks in the employ of Farenthold and Reps. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas) and Bill Flores (R-Texas).

One such fact-finding mission quickly devolved into the theater of the absurd Wednesday, with media-averse staffers falling over themselves to avoid answering questions, much less make eye contact.

When first contacted about our ongoing investigation, a Farenthold aide queasily asked what we were inquiring about.

“The Annapolis party?” he asked before clamming up.

A follow-up visit to the office uncovered a staff that is able to bend the space-time continuum, having mastered the art of aides being physically in the office, out on the most extended lunch conceivable and absolutely nowhere to be found, depending on whom you asked.

Hours later, but still before HOH could pose a single question, we were handed the pre-emptive denial. It also contained the following sentence: “We consider this matter closed.”

They might be done investigating. We aren’t.

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