Heard on the Hill: Get Your Sexy On

Posted April 2, 2010 at 5:33pm

Rep. Randy Neugebauer is looking to bring sexy back … to his campaign.

[IMGCAP(1)]The Texas Republican’s campaign recently hired Talent Revolution Inc., a social media consulting firm that uses “sexy thinking” to engage people “where they hook-up,” according to its Web site.

Sounds naughty, right?

Federal Election Commission records show Neugebauer (perhaps best known for shouting “baby killer” at Michigan Democratic Rep. Bart Stupak during the health care debate) paid Talent Revolution $2,146 in February 2010 for “Strategic Campaign Consulting.” But Chanda Allen, the director of Neugebauer’s campaign committee, tells HOH that the actual consulting work that the campaign received wasn’t all that sexy. … Instead, it was just a lot of information on how to better use the Internets.

“Talent Revolution is a firm which specializes in social media training,” Allen says. “They recently adapted their education program for our campaign use, which helped our staff develop a more user-friendly and modern Web site and implement social media initiatives into our campaign.”

Talent Revolution’s founder, Amanda Hite (whose biography calls her “a Change Agent who’s bringing sexy back”), tells HOH in an e-mail that Talent Revolution doesn’t work on political campaigns but rather specializes in “social media training and workshops,” typically for the corporate world.

A Neugebauer campaign worker attended a social media workshop that the firm recently held in Texas, Hite writes, learning the basics about using social media Web sites such as Facebook, Twitter and others to engage a target audience.

Grass(Roots) Support for GOP. Some Republican donors were recently shocked to find out how their money is being spent (Republican National Committee spending at bondage-themed strip clubs, anyone?), so they might also be interested in knowing where GOP campaigns get their dough — namely, from potheads.

The National Republican Congressional Committee accepted a $5,000 check from the Marijuana Policy Project last week, the pot-legalization advocacy group tells HOH.

The MPP’s platform, which includes easing marijuana laws and decriminalizing medical marijuana, usually isn’t associated with Republicans. But the NRCC was all too eager to take money from the smokey lobby. Now, Republicans can thank potheads for sharing their stash (of money, that is) to help with Congressional races around the country.

The NRCC declined to comment on the drug money, but the MPP’s director of government relations, Aaron Houston, says pot proponents and Republicans aren’t actually that far apart.

“The GOP leadership realizes that state-level regulation of marijuana is popular among their most active constituency right now, the tea party movement, whose members would like to see states decide the issue, like we do with alcohol,” he tells HOH. “So it’s not surprising — there is a huge amount of bipartisan agreement on this issue.”

And this isn’t the first time that the NRCC has happily taken bucks from the pro-pot cause: The MPP gave $5,000 in 2009 and in 2007, the group says.

After all, green isn’t just the color of pot … more importantly for Republicans, it’s the color of money.

A Barking Mad Idea? Capitol Hill denizens were buzzing (or was it barking?) over a report last week that Lincoln Park was being converted into a giant dog park.

A report in a local blog, The Hill is Home, revealed that the popular park’s playground equipment was being ripped up to make room for Fido to run free. But wait a doggone second — the blog entry was an April Fool’s Day hoax.

The story was plausible enough to have gone unrecognized as a joke — it included realistic-sounding details about federal funding and timelines, even if some of the reportedly planned puppy amenities like a heated pool for dogs and a treat dispenser seemed a little suspicious — but one clue gave it away.

The entry quoted National Park Service spokesman Calvin Broadus. One commenter delivered the official verdict on the story’s veracity: “I’m calling April Fool’s joke. Calvin Broadus is Snoop Dogg’s real name.”

Shuffle the Deck. Poker superstar and one-time “Celebrity Apprentice” contestant Annie Duke will ante up against Members of Congress next week during a charity poker tournament on Capitol Hill.

Duke will join Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) and other Members at the fourth annual Ante Up for Africa tourney at the Hyatt Regency, raising money for groups such as Refugees International and the Enough project to tackle humanitarian crises on the continent. Since the poker professional founded Ante Up for Africa in 2006 with actor Don Cheadle, they’ve raised more than $3 million.

Duke is a frequent visitor to D.C. — she came to Capitol Hill last year to lobby on the separate issues of Internet poker regulation and the ongoing crisis in Sudan. During that trip, Duke told HOH that she had gotten to take a coveted Dome tour, but her fear of heights prevented her from climbing to the top.

“I’m so embarrassed,” Duke said. “My kids went up, and they had a wonderful time.”

Overheard on the Hill. “Joined with environmental groups in Belmar to oppose Obama’s offshore drilling plan. The Jersey Shore is too valuable to put at risk.”

— Rep. Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) on Twitter Friday afternoon. We wonder how The Situation feels about the president’s plan …

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