Heard on the Hill: Like Prank-Calling the Police

Posted September 28, 2009 at 6:38pm

Not to sound like a fear-mongering local TV news outlet (toxic mold or razor blades in Halloween candy, anyone?), but everyone — even a Congressional staffer — is at risk of identity theft. Would-be scammers picked an unlikely target last week, when they called one of the top staffers working to prevent just such schemes.

[IMGCAP(1)]The Republican counsel on the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade and Consumer Protection (no names, for fear the con artists might get creative) tells HOH she was amused when she got a call on her work line from a company helpfully offering to lower her interest rates, if she would just provide them with her credit card numbers.

Immediately smelling a rat, she opted to press “2— to have her name removed from the company’s list. The next day, the tricksters were back at it, calling the staffer’s work number again. This time, she chose “1— to speak to a representative, who hopped on the line to eagerly ask if she was ready to lower her interest rates.

Uh, no thanks, the savvy staffer said.

Her next call was to the Federal Trade Commission, where the person who took her complaint was also amused that the bold swindlers had tried to pull one over on the committee that oversees fraud protection.

What’s next, dumping toxic waste in the enviro committee’s offices?

Beautiful Day. While there’s plenty of buzz that actor Tom Cruise will join Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder at tonight’s U2 concert at FedEx Field, the star won’t be the only VIP watching the show.

Several Members of Congress are hoping to find what they’re looking for — campaign cash.

Reps. Ken Calvert (R-Calif.), Melissa Bean (D-Ill.) and Greg Walden (R-Ore.) have scheduled fundraisers for the concert. Calvert’s tickets are going for $1,000 per person, $1,500 per political action committee or two tickets for $2,500 per PAC. Bean and Walden both are offering tickets for $2,500 per PAC, but Bean is offering individual tickets for $1,000, compared with Walden’s $1,500 per person ticket.

Sometimes you can’t make it (into office) on your own, after all.

(Insert ‘Yo Momma’ Joke Here). Of all the insults to hurl at somebody, dissing their mom is among the worst. But that’s the line that Sen. Debbie Stabenow crossed on Friday afternoon, when the Senate Finance Committee was discussing maternity care as part of the ongoing health care debate.

Minority Whip Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) was arguing that maternity care isn’t something that should be mandated in health care policy, specifically noting it’s “something that I don’t need and will make the policy more expensive.—

That’s when the Michigan Democrat interrupted: “I think your mom probably did.—

Oh no she didn’t!

Stabenow’s remarks drew plenty of laughter from those in the room, and even Kyl joked that “over 60 years ago my mom did.— And it seems Stabenow knew the power of a good mom joke: She reflected on her clever line in a fundraising e-mail pitch sent out by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee on Saturday.

“The DSCC thanks you. And a lot of moms, including me, thank you, too,— she wrote.

Required Reading. Forget the new Dan Brown book — the must-read tome of the moment is T.R. Reid’s “The Healing of America.— Many members of the Senate Finance Committee were spotted carrying the book during last week’s markup of health care legislation, passing them around and inscribing the cover pages.

Blame Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) for starting the literary craze: HOH hears he is so enamored of the former Washington Post scribe’s treatise on fixing health care that he bought copies for his colleagues and brought them to the panel’s meeting Thursday. A Conrad spokesman says the Senator distributed at least 10 copies for his fellow health care reform negotiators.

Basically, if the Finance Committee were middle school, “The Healing of America— would be the “Twilight— series.

Let Them Eat Lemon Tarts. Several Members of Congress satisfied their sweet teeth Friday afternoon when they stopped by Rep. Doris Matsui’s office to mark the Congresswoman’s 65th birthday, HOH hears.

Fellow California Democratic Reps. Mike Thompson and Zoe Lofgren and Massachusetts Rep. Jim McGovern (D) joined Matsui and her entire staff after the last votes of the day, honoring the Congresswoman by dining on lemon and raspberry tarts and dark and white chocolate mousse from Le Pain Quotidien in Eastern Market, spokeswoman Mara Lee tells HOH.

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