Heard on the Hill: How Do You Spell Relief?

Posted June 1, 2009 at 6:29pm

You know a party went awry when news stories about it include the phrase “stool sample.—

[IMGCAP(1)]That’s the unfortunate postscript to a Thursday barbecue in Myrtle Beach, S.C., honoring Rep. Henry Brown that resulted in a number of people coming down with an icky stomach bug.

Luckily, the South Carolina Republican and his staff weren’t among the victims, Brown spokeswoman Katie McKinney tells HOH.

The party, intended to be a thank you fete in Brown’s honor, was free to the public and included a buffet-style dinner that featured Southern favorites such as pork barbecue and coleslaw. It’s still not known exactly what triggered the outbreak, says Thom Berry, spokesman for the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control.

Berry tells HOH that officials have confirmed that 11 attendees suffered “gastrointestinal upset and diarrhea— after the party. In all cases, the illness didn’t last long, leading health officials to think there may be many more revelers who suffered brief bouts of illness after the shindig.

The department planned on receiving the aforementioned samples Monday and testing them to figure out what caused the symptoms.

It also isn’t clear exactly who hosted the party, held at the Sheraton Myrtle Beach Convention Center Hotel. Brown’s Washington office made it clear that the Congressman himself wasn’t an organizer, and referred HOH to the district office, which didn’t get back with an answer.

Brotherly Love. Forget Bruce Springsteen or even Britney Spears — the hottest concert for Congressional fundraising this summer is … the Jonas Brothers?

The lovable-yet-cheesy pop-rock trio will perform at the Verizon Center on July 13, and Rep. Jason Altmire will be there offering supporters the chance to party it up with him (for $1,500 per person or $2,500 per political action committee, of course).

And while the 41-year-old Pennsylvania Democrat isn’t exactly your typical Jonas Brothers fan (read: a 12-year-old girl), we imagine that his elementary-school-aged daughters, Natalie and Grace, probably helped educate their dad on the wholesome world of Jonas.

Example: Joe Jonas’ nickname is “DJ Danger.—

“In talking with D.C. parents who have young children like his own, it became clear to Congressman Altmire that parents are always on the lookout for events where they can buy tickets to treat their kids,— Rachael Heisler, a spokeswoman for Citizens for Altmire, told HOH. “We figured a Jonas Brothers concert would fit the bill.—

Altmire isn’t the only Member to hold a summer fundraiser at the Verizon Center (although he was the only Member we could find signed up for the Jonas Brothers show). Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D-R.I.) will host an event at the June 13 Eric Clapton concert, while Reps. G.K. Butterfield (D-N.C.) and André Carson (D-Ind.) will raise money at Beyoncé’s June 24 show.

Brothers in Arms. It always helps to have connections on Capitol Hill — especially when you’ve got a documentary to promote.

Filmmaker Eric Nadler, brother of Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), will screen his latest documentary, “Anthrax War,— on Wednesday afternoon in the Cannon House Office Building. The 90-minute film analyzes the 2001 anthrax attacks and its aftermath, studying the subsequent FBI investigation and the growing bio-defense industry.

Eric Nadler and his documentary partner, Bob Coen, will be at the screening to answer questions and also discuss their companion book, “Dead Silence: Fear and Terror on the Anthrax Trail.—

Nadler spokesman Ilan Kayatsky told HOH that the Congressman arranged for the documentary to be shown on Capitol Hill and will attend Wednesday’s screening — but it turns out brotherly support only goes so far. Kayatsky cautioned that the New York Democrat has yet to see the film himself.

“We’re not endorsing the views of the film,— he added, explaining that the Congressman “thought it would be a good, thoughtful, educational film for Members of Congress— and staffers to watch.

Eric Nadler invited guests to the screening, and the Congressman asked Members and their staff to attend via a “Dear Colleague— letter, Kayatsky said.

Even though Nadler hasn’t yet seen his brother’s movie, he has been involved in the anthrax debate, Kayatsky noted. Nadler is a co-sponsor of legislation introduced by Rep. Rush Holt (D-N.J.) that would establish the National Commission on the Anthrax Attacks, and he’s taken part in several Congressional hearings on the issue.

Plane and Simple. Since every recess ends with plenty of VIPs on planes, here’s HOH’s requisite airport sightings: Sens. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) and Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) were able to skip a long line for customs at Dulles airport on Sunday (thanks to a police escort), but the Senators still had to wait like everyone else at the luggage carousel, according to an HOH spy.

Corker was wearing a bandage on his ear, and his spokeswoman says the Senator injured it while getting out of a van in Kenya last week. He and Isakson were on a week-long CODEL to Sudan, Kenya, Tanzania and Rwanda, she says.

Just a few steps away from the returning Senators was former Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.), also waiting on his suitcases, our airport spy says.

While the Senators seemed to be traveling incognito, media darling Gingrich was spotted shaking hands with well-wishers.

TV Dinners? HOH is forever spotting White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel out and about in our city’s finer dining establishments, but at least one member of President Barack Obama’s inner circle apparently is more of a dinner-in kind of guy.

An HOH spy reports seeing presidential adviser David Axelrod shopping for groceries Friday evening at the Whole Foods on P Street, making this the second Friday night Axelrod-at-Whole-Foods sighting in the past few weeks.

Geof Koss of CongressNow contributed to this report.

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