Congressman ISO Your Home

Posted October 20, 2004 at 6:42pm

Hey, home owners on Capitol Hill. Are you willing to pack up and sell your home if the price is right? No, HOH is not offering to buy your house. Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) is!

Issa, who has more money than God, assets worth more than $100 million to be exact, has left Manila calling cards in the mail slots of townhouses on Capitol Hill seeking potential sellers. The cards have a gold emblem of the Capitol dome centered at the top with small typeface: DARRELL ISSA, MEMBER OF CONGRESS.

[IMGCAP(1)] In red, cursive, upper-case lettering, the oddly worded note says, “IF YOU COULD LIKE TO SELL THIS HOME, I WOULD BE INTERESTED IN BUYING.” Issa signed his name and put his Congressional office number on the card.

One of Issa’s little cards was deposited into the mail slot of a red-bricked, 150-year-old, four-story townhouse with wrought iron fencing on the 100 block of C Street, half a block from the Republican National Committee. The residents are renters and, therefore, not in a position to sell. And HOH could not find others who might be willing to sell their homes to Issa.

Issa, who is running for a third term this year, is the seventh wealthiest Member of Congress, according to a Roll Call survey. He made millions of dollars as owner of a car alarm company. And he poured several of those millions into the California recall effort last year that toppled former Gov. Gray Davis (D) and put the Austrian-born body builder Arnold Schwarzenegger in office.

Why Issa is looking for another home to buy in Washington is anybody’s guess. He already owns one home here, according to his spokesman, Frederick Hill. Hill provided no other information, nor did he pass along HOH’s request to his boss seeking comment on his home-buying venture on Capitol Hill.

Swift Vets for Nader. Professional Ralph Nader bashers have been making much ado about their least favorite presidential candidate taking campaign donations from swift boat veterans. Now they really have something to scream about, if it’s true. One of the leading members of Swift Vets and POWs for Truth, John O’Neill, allegedly has promised Nader his support on Election Day.

Kevin Zeese, a spokesman for Nader, says Nader and O’Neill ran into each other in the “green room” of one of the networks — it was either MSNBC or Fox News, Zeese couldn’t remember — two weeks ago when Nader was making the TV rounds. O’Neill was complimentary of Nader, even though the third-party crasher has been critical of the anti-Kerry vets group.

Zeese says O’Neill, a fellow lawyer, told Nader that he “really admired him” and some other flattering things. Then, Zeese says, O’Neill lowered his voice and whispered, “I’m going to vote for you this year.”

“I don’t know if he’ll say it publicly,” Zeese added with a chuckle.

No, he will not. A spokesman for the Swift Vets group who passed HOH’s request along to O’Neill said, “None of the swift boat veterans are commenting publicly on who they’ll be voting for.”

Zeese mentioned the O’Neill-Nader encounter when HOH called the Nader campaign to inquire about a recent clash The Man Who Cost Al Gore the Presidency had with operatives at the NaderFactor.com who had trailed Nader to a campaign appearance at Princeton University, his alma mater.

Standing outside the Triumph Tavern across the street from campus, NaderFactor.com President David Jones and other anti-Naderites surprised Nader by hand delivering a letter to the any-which-way-but-mainstream candidate. Jones loudly reiterated the contents of the letter for milling students to hear, asking Nader to drop out of the race and return the campaign donations he has accepted from members of Swift Vets and POWs for Truth.

“You’re against freedom!” Nader shouted over his shoulder as he walked away toward a bookstore for a scheduled book signing.

The anti-Naderites say Nader and the GOP are in cahoots, that Republicans are funding Nader to help ensure he siphons enough votes from Kerry to ensure Bush a second term. The Nader campaign says it has received “only 700 Republican contributions” thus far. And Zeese says there’s nothing wrong with Nader taking cash from the anti-Kerry Swifties.

“Give me a break,” Zeese says. “Chicken hawks are treated equal to war heroes.”

Plus, he adds, “We had no idea these guys were Swift Boat vets,” meaning Nader accepted the money from individuals not knowing with which group they might be affiliated at the time.

The NaderFactor.com says the Swift Vets are one of the Republican Party’s “slimy front groups” helping Nader to help Bush. To get the point across to as many people as possible, anti-Nader Democrats have created a new bumper sticker: “Bush-Nader ’04?? ‘Say it ain’t so Ralph!”

Dick the Bird-Dog? His presidential campaign didn’t end the way he would have liked, but for retiring Rep. Richard Gephardt (D-Mo.), there may be a bright side to being a lame duck.

While most of his colleagues were grinding through the rubber-chicken circuit, Gephardt has found at least a little time to appreciate the finer things. And as he is a rabid baseball fan who lives and dies with the fortunes of his beloved St. Louis Cardinals, it should have been no surprise to see Gephardt at a critical Major League playoff contest recently.

What was surprising, however, was that the former House Minority Leader and his son Matt, 34, were on hand in Atlanta for game five of the National League division series between the hometown Braves and the Houston Astros. The winner of that contest — the Astros, as it happened — would be going toe-to-toe with the Cards.

Was Gephardt — who has not yet announced his post-Congressional career plans — trying out for a new gig as a Major League scout?

His spokeswoman, Loren Raszick, initially laughed, but then said — in all seriousness — “You can be certain there will be a lot of baseball in Dick Gephardt’s future. He loves baseball and he loves his family. Going to the game with Matt is the best of both worlds.”

Paul Kane contributed to this report.