We’ll Always Have Paris

Posted April 25, 2007 at 6:34pm

Could Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-Calif.) be a paparazzi princess? The folks at L.A.-based gossip Web site TMZ seem to think so, and as they began planning for a possible inside-the-Beltway bureau, they had pinned their hopes partly on the antics of the California Democrat being salacious enough to make her a regular feature on their site. [IMGCAP(1)]

As they hatched plans for a D.C. presence, the TMZ team, which included Managing Editor Harvey Levin, was telling Washington types that they “wanted to make Loretta Sanchez the Paris Hilton of Washington,” says a source who met with TMZ staffers here in the capital. “That’s part of their vision,” the source says.

Sanchez is known for colorful behavior, such as sending out Christmas cards portraying her and her dog, Gretzky, in goofy costumes, calling out Congressional Hispanic Caucus Chairman Joe Baca (D-Calif.) for allegedly dubbing her a “whore,” and proclaiming she wanted to be the first Congresswoman to visit outer space. And, like Hilton, who is frequently spotted with sister and fellow gal-about-town Nicky Hilton, Sanchez, too, has a boldfaced sister, fellow California Democratic Rep. Linda Sánchez.

But some Hill folks doubted even the comparatively gossip-worthy Sanchez would provide the kind of fodder that Hilton does for the Hollywood paparazzi. “If Sanchez is Paris Hilton, who does that make our B-list?” one Hill staffer wondered. Hilton, after all, has starred in a sex tape, had the contents of her medicine cabinet end up on eBay and publicly feuded with fellow celebrity gal pals. Top that, Loretta!

A TMZ publicist didn’t return calls seeking comment, and recent reports, including one in The Washington Post, indicate that the gossip site’s D.C. plans may be foundering.

A Sanchez spokeswoman told HOH she was unaware that her boss had fallen in TMZ’s scope, although she noted Sanchez has far more gravitas than the famous-for-being-famous Hilton. “I don’t see how they could compare Loretta, who is the vice chair of the Homeland Security Committee, to a Hollywood personality,” the spokeswoman said.

Still, Sanchez might want to start checking her bushes for awaiting shutterbugs.

Dude, Where’s My Cop Car? Capitol Police Chief Phillip Morse has vowed to lawmakers that he’ll keep close tabs on the department’s far-flung assets. But his job got a little harder last weekend when an unmarked police car was swiped from outside the home of a department intelligence agent.

The agent woke up Sunday morning to an unpleasant surprise: The department-owned 2003 Crown Victoria, which he parked near his Morningside, Md., home in Prince George’s County, had been stolen sometime after 8:30 the night before.

The car thieves might not have known they were filching a cop car, since it was a basic black model with tinted windows. But surely they realized this was no ordinary Crown Vic, since it came fully equipped with emergency lights and sirens. Fortunately, there were no weapons inside, according to the department.

The missing car was reported to federal and state authorities, while officers on Capitol Hill received an extra reminder this week to identify all occupants of Capitol Police vehicles before dropping traffic barriers and allowing access to the Capitol campus, Capitol Police spokeswoman Sgt. Kimberly Schneider said.

Fan Mail. He may have been tackled by a hulking college football player, but 4-year-old Caden Thomas has more to show for the run-in than the 30 stitches needed to patch him up. Thomas got a letter and a flag from Sen. Wayne Allard (R-Colo.), who saw the cringe-inducing footage, played widely on newscasts, of Thomas being accidentally tackled while watching a Colorado State University scrimmage football match from the sidelines.

CSU alum Allard sent the poor tyke a Congressional flag and a note wishing him well. “I hope to see you at a CSU game this fall,” the Senator wrote to Thomas, who most likely will need some help from his parents reading the letter. “Go Rams!” Allard concluded.

A Few of Our Favorite Things. Armchair quarterbacks, take note. Your chance to bend the ear of Washington Redskins coach Joe Gibbs will come May 2, when Gibbs comes to the Hill to talk about the ’Skins, his career in NASCAR and “how his personal relationship with God affects his life and relationships.” And there’s a “continental breakfast,” which HOH believes means pastries.

One Senate staffer noted that the event pretty much spans the trifecta of hot-button topics. “Football, NASCAR and Jesus — what more could you want?” the staffer said.

Answer: a cheese Danish.

Cuffed Staffer. A senior aide to Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) was arrested last weekend on domestic violence charges. According to the Lansing State Journal, Charles “Tony” Baltimore was arrested at a Lansing club “after what police described as an ‘altercation with a female companion,’” the report said.

Baltimore is a constituent relations/outreach staffer in Rogers’ Lansing district office, Rogers spokeswoman Sylvia Warner told HOH.

In a statement, Warner said the Congressman was still waiting for the details of the arrest and takes the matter seriously. “Once all the information is available, appropriate action will be taken as warranted,” the statement read.

John McArdle contributed to this report.

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