Slaughter-house Jive

Posted March 25, 2003 at 6:56pm

While most lawmakers have suspended fundraising or are at least trying to be low-key about politicking with war raging in Iraq, Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.) is taking a different tact.

Slaughter is throwing a fundraiser to celebrate her “new appointment to the new Select Committee on Homeland Security,” according to a fax making its way around town.

Though membership on the new panel is supposed to be about finding ways to protect American security,

the committee is also apparently viewed as an incumbent protection plan for Slaughter, whose district was changed dramatically by redistricting.

Slaughter told HOH that while the fundraising letter was distributed before the war started, she realizes that it now might seem inappropriate.

“Our emphasis was on first responders and homeland security,” Slaughter said in a prepared statement. “I apologize if it appears unseemly.”

Since Slaughter represents a district in upstate New York, however, she insists that she is not just on the new committee for buckraking.

“As a representative of a significant portion of the U.S.-Canada border, I care deeply about the border security issues,” she added. “My district includes three international airports, a busy port and numerous border crossings.”

The fundraiser, however, is slated to occur right here in D.C. at Slaughter’s Capitol Hill home on April 10. She’s looking for contributions ranging from $500 to $2,000 a pop.

McCarthy Recovering. Rep. Karen McCarthy (D-Mo.) is thanking colleagues for reaching out to help her get through a battle with alcohol.

McCarthy’s office released a statement Monday saying she is “overwhelmed by the expressions of love and support she received this weekend. She is confronting her disease and will begin a residential treatment program this week.”

Insiders say that McCarthy is seeking treatment at a facility out West. After months of concern among friends, she finally decided to seek help after falling down an escalator and cutting her face while inebriated in a House office building last week. The incident led her to miss the close vote on President Bush’s budget resolution.

McCarthy was recently named to a seat alongside Slaughter on the new Homeland Security panel. The office of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) did not return a call seeking comment on whether McCarthy will be replaced on the important panel.

The official statement from McCarthy’s office was vague about her comeback, saying she “looks forward to returning to Congress to represent the people of the 5th district.”

What’s Wrong With This Picture? A couple of HOH spies were surprised to see the seating assignments for Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Rep. Phil Crane (R-Ill.) for a Sunday afternoon flight from Chicago to D.C.

Crane, who fell short in his bid to become chairman of the powerful Ways and Means Committee, was cooling his heels in first class on the United flight.

Grassley, who actually did become chairman of the powerful Senate Finance Committee, was stuck in coach — in a middle seat no less.

“I’m a populist,” Grassley told HOH.

Fading Star? Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.), who’s had his share of troubles lately, had planned an ironically named “A Night of a Thousand Stars” fundraiser for Sunday night.

Billed as Moran’s annual bash to celebrate the Academy Awards, the black-tie-optional party at The Ritz Carlton in Tysons Corner, Va., was cancelled at the last minute.

While lobbyists were buzzing about the possibility that Moran had bailed out because of a fear that his money was drying up, the Congressman’s allies insist that his fundraising is doing just fine despite his various controversies.

Moran’s campaign put out a statement saying that the fundraiser was shelved because of the war in Iraq.

“In light of the grave situation facing our nation, this is to inform you that we are postponing our annual fundraiser,” said the statement. “Our prayers and support are with the thousands of young men and women on active duty overseas.”

McCain Honored. After helping to preside over the Oscars this weekend, motion picture lobbyist Jack Valenti will be the host of a tribute dinner in D.C. on Wednesday night that will give the “Citizen Patriot Award” to Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.).

The award is given out annually by The Citizen Patriot Organization, a charity founded by Janet Langhardt Cohen, wife of ex-Defense Secretary and McCain pal William Cohen.

“On the Hill, where there are a lot of followers, John is a leader,” she told HOH.

Langhart-Cohen acknowledged that she was rooting for McCain to win the White House in 2000. “Even though I’m a ‘D,’ I’m sorry he lost,” she said with a laugh.

The National Committee for Quality Assurance, meanwhile, gave out its 2003 Health Quality Awards last night to five recipients, including Sen. John Breaux (D-La.), Rep. Nancy Johnson (R-Conn.) and former Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill.