Stinky Hoax

Posted May 4, 2005 at 6:51pm

E-mails were flying around Capitol Hill on Wednesday about a dump in Rep. Jane Harman’s (D-Calif.) office. Yes, that kind of dump.

Congressional staff assistants, a species known for e-mailing each other all day long, were burning up the Internet about how Lyndon LaRouche’s followers were spotted in various Congressional offices.

Then a staff assistant in Harman’s office horrified everyone with this dispatch:[IMGCAP(1)]

“One of these stinkers just took a dump in our office. Midway through his propaganda, Stephen McLaughlin (I found out his name because he was taken away by Capitol Police) decided to drop his pants and plopped a Hot Cleveland Steamer on our carpet. House Janitorial Services is currently cleaning up this wretched filth.”

That e-mail was sent to HOH by at least five people, all of whom seemed flabbergasted by the yuck factor.

Contacted by HOH, Harman’s spokesman was clueless about the alleged incident. But moments later, the Congresswoman’s chief of staff, John Hess, called back, furious, explaining that the e-mail was a hoax.

It was “a really stupid response” to a string of e-mail messages poking fun at LaRouche followers and written by a young staffer “who is otherwise a really great young lad,” Hess said.

“His message was vulgar and inappropriate,” an angry Hess said, adding that the e-mail “would probably cause [the staff assistant] to lose his job.”

For the record, Hess implored HOH not to write about the e-mail hoax, saying it would probably get the young staffer fired. We decided that it’s our column to write what we want, and that discipline for the staffer’s practical jokes is a matter for Harman’s office to decide, not us.

Monsieur Masseur Apologizes. The Times Leader newspaper in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., is aggressively digging for more dirt on Rep. Don Sherwood (R-Pa.), a source at the paper told HOH.

The reporter who broke the story on Sherwood’s bizarre encounter with a 29-year-old woman in his apartment is “out on assignment,” away from his office, on the trail of Sherwood and the young woman who reportedly claims she and the Congressman had a love affair.

Sherwood released a statement late Tuesday evening — after deadline, unfortunately for Sherwood’s office, because it made this a third-day story. In it, he apologized to his family and constituents.

“I apologize for the pain and embarrassment I have caused my family and my supporters, and I’m truly sorry,” Sherwood said. “Now I have work to do.”

His statement comes after the Times Leader reported last Saturday that Cynthia Ore called 911 from the bathroom of Sherwood’s Washington, D.C., apartment, saying that the 64-year-old Congressman had choked her.

Sherwood, according to the police report, said he was only giving the gal a back rub when she suddenly “jumped up” and ran to the bathroom.

Ore changed her story when police arrived, saying she and the Congressman were only “sipping tea.” Police found no evidence of injury and did not charge anyone.

Ore told the Associated Press that she “loved” Sherwood and that, “He always told me he loved me and I believed him.”

Sherwood, who has been married to his wife, Carol, for 33 years and has three daughters, initially told the Times Leader that Ore was “an acquaintance.” In his statement Tuesday night, he said he would have no further comment on “this personal matter.”

“I’m going to continue to work hard for the people of the 10th Congressional District, and to begin the healing process with my family,” he said.

Tokin Up. Capitol Police had to look the other way while Irvin Rosenfeld lit up a fat doobie outside the Cannon House Office Building on Wednesday. Rosenfeld is one of seven patients in the United States who is legally exempt from federal law prohibiting possession of controlled substances and, therefore, can toke up just about anytime, anywhere.

Rosenfeld, who has a debilitating bone condition, joined television talk show host Montel Williams, who has multiple sclerosis, Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.) and other Members at a news conference to introduce the States Rights to Medical Marijuana Act. The event was coordinated by the Marijuana Policy Project.

Bruce Mirken, a spokesman for MPP, said none of the police officers bothered Rosenfeld while he smoked his joint. (Among other things, the proposed legislation would protect medical marijuana patients from arrest.)

But Rohrabacher wasn’t taking any chances. He didn’t want any of his fingerprints on the pot. He even refused to hold a can of prescription marijuana cigarettes for a photo op. “I can’t accept a gift that may be worth more than $50,” he explained dryly to HOH.

Emanuel: Bag Man. GOP operatives surprised Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.) at a news conference he held on lobbying reform Wednesday to harass him. It wasn’t for having the audacity to speak out against the excesses of lobbying after having made $16 million in just two and a half years as an investment banker. Rather, it was to lampoon him for his alleged involvement in a Chicago corruption scandal.

The Chicago Sun-Times ran a front-page story Wednesday blaring: “BAGMAN: TOP HIRED TRUCK FIGURE HELPED DALEY, EMANUEL.” The story, and one in the Chicago Tribune, implicated Emanuel in a scandal involving city workers doing political work for Mayor Richard Daley and Emanuel.

The National Republican Congressional Committee sent a guy with a bag over his head to Emanuel’s news conference to hand out copies of the Sun-Times story. The bag man didn’t last long, as he was asked to leave. But the point was made.

“The glass house is starting to break,” NRCC spokesman Carl Forti told HOH. “Attempts by Nancy Pelosi to brush her own [party’s] ethical troubles underneath a carpet won’t work.”

Emanuel’s spokeswoman, Kathleen Connery, shot back: “We figured it was Jack Abramoff wanting to check out our new lobbying rules.”