Busted

Posted September 17, 2004 at 5:57pm

An intern in Rep. Phil English’s (R-Pa.) office may have broken the world’s record for shortest time on the job, her budding career ruined by a marijuana arrest. [IMGCAP(1)]

The intern lasted all of two-and-a-half hours on her first day at work in English’s office last Thursday. After getting acquainted with the office and her new colleagues, who described the intern as “weird” and a “strange character,” it was

time to go on a tour of the Capitol with staff assistant Aimee Peterson.

When Peterson and her new charge reached the security checkpoint connecting the Cannon House Office Building to the Capitol, they put their purses on the X-ray belts and stepped through the metal detectors. Inside the intern’s purse, police officers spotted a small wooden box containing a little pipe — and a little something to smoke. As the police report put it, it was a “green leafy substance” and “paraphernalia.”

The officers called the intern over to the side for a chat, leaving Peterson to wonder what was so intriguing about the new intern’s bag.

“I didn’t know what was going on!” Peterson told HOH. “I told the cop she was our intern. He said, ‘We found something.’”

“I said, ‘I don’t understand,’” Peterson continued. “He told me: drug paraphernalia.”

“It was a one-timer, that’s what they’re called,” Peterson explained. (HOH wouldn’t know, but sources familiar with the hippy lettuce say it’s actually called a “one-hitter.”)

The police slapped handcuffs on the 27-year-old and took her to their processing facility, where perhaps the world’s shortest-tenured intern was charged with “possession of marijuana,” according to Capitol Police Sgt. Contricia Sellers-Ford.

As for Congressman English, “He was shocked!” said Annette Carr, his chief of staff. “It’s unfathomable.”

She pointed out that the young woman did not come from English’s district. In fact, the intern — who, one would think, is old enough to know better than to walk into the Capitol with pot in her purse — is not even from Pennsylvania. She’s from Ohio. But she came highly recommended from the Washington Intern Center, Carr said.

While they found her weird and strange, English’s staff said they did not know whether their two-and-a-half hour intern was high for the duration of her foray into politics.

Footnote: If two potheads a trend do make, then, by golly, potheads are the latest trend in interns. Five months ago, a 19-year-old intern in Rep. Ron Paul’s (R-Texas) office was arrested for marijuana possession. Unlike our latest participant with her fancy wooden box, Paul’s intern kept his leafy green substance in a “Zip-lock sandwich bag” and used a “blue glass pipe” to smoke it.

Brown and Burned. Rep. Henry Brown (R-S.C.) is taking some serious heat for not paying a fine for the forest fire he accidentally started when he did a prescribed burn on his land. The fire jumped his property and burned 20 acres of national forest.

A Forest Service employee has filed a complaint against the Congressman, accusing him of abusing his Congressional power by trying to avoid the $250 fine and trying to change the wording in the Code of Federal Regulations so that neither he nor anyone else will ever have to pay a fine if a fire spills over into a national forest.

Brown admitted to HOH that he did try to change the code. He said the Forest Service regulations are unfair because it gives no recourse but to pay a $250 fine. “If your next-door neighbor is going to fine you when your basketball comes into their yard, that’s not right,” Brown said. “You’re supposed to throw it back and say, ‘Hey. How ya doin?’”

While we appreciate the basketball/fire analogy, let’s get back to apples and apples.

Brown said although the fine is a relatively paltry $250, that’s not the point. “This ain’t about me,” he said. “This is about the system. This is about big bureaucracy coming down on the little man.”

But his hometown paper, the Charleston Post and Courier, doesn’t think Congressman Brown is the little man.

An editorial in the newspaper last week said, “The question now isn’t about Henry Brown’s responsibility for the forest fire, but whether Rep. Brown’s congressional muscle has been misapplied.”

Brown told HOH he’ll eventually pay the fine. But he said, “I’m going to fight to change that regulation.” In fact, he said, he might file a bill to recoup the $9,000 he says he lost back in 1989 when a national forest fire spilled onto his land. “Nobody paid me for my loss then!” he said.

From Bushisms to Sessionisms. Hard to say what Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Texas) was talking about in his first debate with Rep. Martin Frost (D) last weekend. (Frost and Sessions are tangling in one of the dirtiest, most closely watched races this year. Frost’s district was carved into many pieces during that state’s redistricting; he chose Sessions’ seat as the one piece of the pie he thought he could swipe.)

In keeping with their daily mudslinging, the Frost campaign put out a press release reprinting Sessions’ opening remarks and comparing them to Frost’s. “Decide for yourself who has a clear, articulate vision on the key issues facing our country today,” said the snippy release.

Here is what Sessions said, which, beware, is very difficult to follow:

“I believe the opportunity to be before the World Affairs Council, who have a very serious outlook on the world, that what we should discuss tonight are the issues and those opportunities that lay ahead of America, and certainly us here in Dallas on a moving forward basis as we approach the world with world affairs.”

From there, Sessions, went on to say there are “two very significant issues that face America at this time and certainly the world, and essentially they boil down to two main areas.” They are demographics and poverty, he said.

Frost, meanwhile, talked about his having a bipartisan approach to foreign policy.

He said: “I believe that politics should stop at the water’s edge. When President Bush’s father sought permission from Congress to send troops against Saddam Hussein in 1991, I supported that. When President Clinton sought Congressional support for peacekeeping efforts in Kosovo, I supported that. And when the current President Bush sought authority to send troops against Saddam Hussein, I supported that. Now I will tell you that my opponent, Pete, supported a Republican president, but could not bring himself to support a Democratic president when we were engaged in peacekeeping in Kosovo.”

Justin Kitsch, spokesman for Frost’s campaign, said Sessions “made the same number of coherent statements in the debate as the number of jobs he has created in Texas: Zero.”

Chris Homan, Sessions’ campaign manager, said the Frost campaign, as it has throughout the entire race, was more focused on “picking out specific language rather than looking at the entirety of the debate.” He said Frost “runs a deceptive, less-than-truthful campaign about Congressman Sessions.”

Please send your hot tips, juicy gossip or comments to hoh@rollcall.com.