Sole Brother

Posted May 4, 2007 at 6:37pm

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse is one sneaky guy. And that’s no character judgment; we’re talking his choice of footwear here. The Rhode Island Democrat eschews loafers, oxfords and other traditional business shoes in favor of a pair of sleek, black Puma sneakers. Whether on the Senate floor, meeting with constituents or even attending fancy dinners, the Senator’s in his sneaks. [IMGCAP(1)]

Whitehouse, his spokeswoman Alex Swartsel tells HOH, does keep a pair of dress shoes in his office. But no one can recall seeing the Senator in the fancy footwear. “It’s pretty much the Pumas all the time,” Swartsel says.

She says Whitehouse’s fast walking pace, as well as his frequent jaunts between his far-flung office in the Hart Building and the Capitol, make sneaks the most comfortable option around.

Whitehouse’s freshman status means he has to take frequent turns presiding over the Senate chamber, prompting even more rushing back and forth.

They were a gift from his brother-in-law, and his wife also owns a pair of black Pumas (HOH didn’t ask if they own matching sweatsuits). And although they have prompted some ribbing from colleagues, Swartsel says the sneakers are an improvement over Whitehouse’s last footwear standby. During his Senate campaign, she says, Whitehouse sported a pair of brown dress shoes that were so worn-out and old that they had huge holes in the soles.

In other Congressional footwear news, Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.) has been wearing the pair of black clogs he’s so fond of around the Capitol. But before you dial the fashion police, you might forgive the Congressman his ugly-but-comfy look, since he’s recovering from a slipped disc.

Oh, c’mon guys, loafers aren’t that painful — just ask Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), who somehow manages to gracefully stride the Capitol’s marble halls in pinching pumps.

Daughter Drama. The Senate connections to NBC’s “Law & Order” just keep on coming. The show stars former Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson (who you just might have heard is doing some serious flirting with a bid for the Republican presidential nomination), and now Kathryn Alexander, the daughter of Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), made an appearance on Friday night’s episode.

Kathryn, an actress who lives in New York, played the foreperson of a jury in the drama, which is filmed and set in Gotham. She teaches acting at the Atlantic Theater Co. and has appeared in commercials and some off-off-Broadway shows, an Alexander spokesman informs HOH.

The proud Senator and his wife, Honey, planned to watch their daughter’s star turn from the comforts of their home in Maryville, Tenn.

The Foley-Palfrey Nexus. The fuss over the alleged D.C. Madam is the latest sex scandal to hit Washington since former Rep. Mark Foley (R-Fla.) was caught sending naughty missives to teenage Congressional pages — and now it looks like there’s a link between the two eyebrow-raisers.

Attorney Steven Salky of the law firm Zuckerman Spaeder warned ABC News not to broadcast the name of his client, who he had “reason to believe” would be named when the network began airing the identities of the men who showed up on the alleged madam’s phone records, ABC says. Although Salky did not say who his client is, ABC had been hinting that it planned to drop some well-known names, so the client was almost certainly of the boldfaced variety.

Zuckerman Spaeder, though, is no stranger to sex scandals involving the powerful. The firm, which has locations in Washington, D.C., Florida and elsewhere, represented Foley following his resignation from Congress after it surfaced that the Congressman had sent sexually explicit messages to male former House pages.

Salky did not return HOH’s calls for comment.

Apparently, if you’re a big Washington player with some dirty laundry, Zuckerman Spaeder’s your go-to firm.

So if you see their number on your boyfriend’s speed dial, be afraid. Be very afraid.

Paper Trail. As Washington’s mayor, Adrian Fenty (D) no doubt deals with reams of paper: The job necessitates a blizzard of briefing papers, memos, newspapers and bills. But on Wednesday, hizzoner found himself woefully lacking in that most essential of paper — toilet paper. During the ACLI Capital Challenge race last week, Fenty was one of a few smart folks who forewent the row of port-a-potties that had been provided for runners in favor of the facilities in a nearby maintenance building owned by the Park Service Police. An HOH source who was entering the men’s room of the building was surprised to encounter the bereft mayor, who informed the HOH source that “there’s no toilet paper.”

The source shortly thereafter saw Fenty exiting in the direction of the women’s room (where he might have gone in search of the elusive TP). Fenty, our bathroom spy says, was unaccompanied.

HOH won’t be surprised to see budget increases for D.C. public bathrooms in the works.

Matthew Murray contributed to this report.

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