Don’t Bet on It

Posted June 4, 2007 at 6:37pm

When we last heard from ex-Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) he was, ahem, “withdrawing from consideration” for the job of president of the World Bank. (Yes, the vacancy has now been filled, but HOH would like it known that he didn’t really want the job either. HOH hereby, after the fact, removes himself from consideration.) [IMGCAP(1)]

Anyway, Frist has been keeping plenty busy even without the World Bank job, dishing out advice to his fellow Tennessean, ex-Sen. Fred Thompson (R), as the actor considers a presidential run. And while the good doctor hasn’t — as far as we know — saved anyone’s life in the past few weeks, Frist has been doing various charitable things to help his fellow man.

But back to that World Bank job. Why did Frist pull his name from consideration? According to a source cited by The Associated Press, it was because Frist wanted “to take a break from government work.”

But our friends over at Poker News have a better theory, and it’s related to — wait for it — gambling!

See, when he was in the Senate, Frist helped push through the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, a move that did not endear him to America’s legions of online poker enthusiasts or, for that matter, other countries that have complained about the law.

“It is possible Frist’s pro-UIGEA stance could have negatively affected his candidacy to head the World Bank,” Poker News’ Martin Harris wrote last week, explaining that the uproar abroad about the U.S. gambling ban may just have been strong enough to scuttle international support for Frist.

It turns out online poker might even be the key to another Frist mystery. Harris also notes, “Some in the poker world have attempted to connect Frist’s decision not to run for president in 2008 to unpopularity caused by the UIGEA and the method by which it passed,” though he concedes that “such a connection is likely overstated.”

Well, even if his dislike of online gambling did hurt his bids for the World Bank and the White House, it hasn’t hampered his career as a celebrity charity spokesman.

This week, Frist will brief supporters and the press on his activities with ONE Vote ’08, an effort to engage the presidential candidates “on issues of extreme poverty and global health,” according to a release. He will host a private conference call on his efforts — which are in conjunction with the nonprofit groups DATA and ONE — on Wednesday.

Then next Monday, Frist will team up with his old nemesis, ex-Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle (D-S.D.), for the official kickoff event for ONE Vote ’08 right here on Capitol Hill at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Southeast. If you see any protesters at the event, they’re probably poker players.

Arrivederci. Well, it had to end sometime. This Sunday night marks the series finale of “The Sopranos” (SPOILER ALERT: More people will die, and there will be a lot of eating).

To mark this sad occasion, Sesto Senso, Beam Global Spirits & Wine Inc. and Future Brands LLC are teaming up to throw a gimmicky goodbye party at 6:30 p.m. Thursday night at Andalu on 18th Street Northwest.

According to the invite, partygoers will be able to “enjoy specialty cocktails” such as “the Final Whack, the Carmela Supreme, and the Jersey-tini” while chefs from Sesto Senso “whip up classic fare like Carmela’s Meatballs and Johnny Saks’ Skewered Calamari.”

Legal Aid. The first step on the road to recovery is admitting you need help. And in a recently released employment ad, the Architect of the Capitol might be doing just that.

The AOC is looking to retain outside counsel to help represent the agency in Office of Compliance-related cases because of “the unusually heavy litigation caseload currently being handled by” the AOC’s legal counsel, according to the presolicitation notice that was released late last month.

The notice states that the AOC needs the legal help specifically for OOC-related cases “that are are in litigation and trials that are expected to start in June 2007.”

The Office of Compliance — as HOH fans surely know — is the legislative branch agency charged with enforcing the 1995 Congressional Accountability Act, which applied about a dozen workplace health and safety and antidiscrimination laws to Congress.

At this point, most everyone on Capitol Hill has heard about the dangerous asbestos and other hazards that lurk in the Capitol’s aging utility tunnel system that is managed by the AOC. And some folks may even know about the landmark complaint that was filed by the OOC that led to a recently announced settlement agreement that has given the AOC five years to fix the tunnels.

But have things gotten so bad around the Capitol that the Architect is looking to beef up its legal team to handle an expected onslaught of OOC scrutiny?

AOC spokeswoman Eva Malecki said that would be reading too much into the help wanted add.

The notice “is just to have someone on hand to help with any casework should we need it,” Malecki said. “It’s just a mechanism that we can put in place, but we’re not hiring anybody permanently. It’s just to have the extra paralegal or research assistant or whatever, it doesn’t even mean that we will actually even use it.”

She noted that the notice “has nothing to do with any increase in casework. … It’s just to have specific expertise with a personnel and regulatory background versus just a general legal background.”

John McArdle contributed to this report.

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