Heard on the Hill: Walking the Congressional Runway

Posted May 19, 2010 at 6:20pm

If you spot a gaggle of designer-clad fashionistas standing out among the usual Brooks Brothers and Ann Taylor suits in the Congressional hallways today, don’t immediately run to go shopping — fashion on Capitol Hill hasn’t suddenly received a fabulous boost.

But there will be a slew of stylish visitors around, as the Greater Washington Fashion Chamber of Commerce hosts its lobby day. Fashion advocates are on tap to meet with Members and staffers on a variety of issues to mark the launch of the Congressional Apparel Manufacturing and Fashion Business Caucus, and they won’t be discussing just the ongoing does-black-match-with-brown debate, either: They’ll push Members to act on issues such as job creation, counterfeiting and trade policies that affect the industry.

But true to fashion’s glitzy reputation, the day will be capped off with the first “State of Style Awards” in the Hart Senate Office Building, honoring fashionistas and other officials who have helped industry causes, and a benefit fashion show at the District in Adams Morgan.

Lobbyist’s Next Target: An Emmy

Should Brian Jones ever decide to leave Washington, he has a good chance at making it in Hollywood.

Jones, who lobbies for Dell and served as a speechwriter for former President George W. Bush, has been nominated for a New England Emmy award for a documentary that he made remembering Warwick Musical Theatre in Rhode Island. “THE TENT: Life in the Round” is Jones’ first movie (other than a handful of wedding and music videos that he’s made for people, he joked).

Jones grew up working at the theater, which hosted an eclectic group of stars until its last season in 1999. A few years ago, the owner’s son asked Jones to help make a documentary.

The film premiered last year in Rhode Island and was shown on local television, receiving a nomination for a regional Emmy in April.

Awards will be handed out Saturday, and Jones said he’s “cautiously optimistic” about the documentary’s chances.

But the competition includes a film about a young deaf man who taught himself how to play music (and then tragically died). A friend cautioned “that one might be tough to beat from the heartstrings standpoint,” Jones joked.

Levin’s Awkward Encounter

Politics might make for strange bedfellows, but political fundraising can make for strange tablemates. Sen. Carl Levin, for example, found himself sitting at a fundraising breakfast Wednesday next to the outside counsel for Goldman Sachs, the company that the Michigan Democrat had recently — and very publicly — raked over the coals.

A tipster tells HOH that at a fundraiser for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), Levin was sitting next to former White House counsel Greg Craig. Craig is the outside counsel to Goldman, the company that got a verbal whipping from Levin at a hearing last month before the Homeland Security Subcommittee on Investigation, which he chairs. Reports described Levin “grilling,” “blasting” and “beating up” the bank executives.

Levin and Craig didn’t seem to hit it off, either, according to our tipster, barely speaking during the event at the Liaison hotel on Capitol Hill. Perhaps Levin might describe the meeting as “shitty,” the word he used throughout the hearing.

Cheadle’s Hill Sequel: Saving the Planet

Actor Don Cheadle is back on Capitol Hill, this time advocating for the environment.

The “Iron Man 2” star is set to appear with scientist Jane Goodall on the Hill today for a lunch discussion supporting the Global Conservation Act, which funds the effort to fight extinction and natural resource depletion worldwide.

Cheadle, who also lobbied Members on Wednesday, is a frequent Capitol visitor, having previously lobbied on human rights issues, such as the crisis in Darfur. But “I wouldn’t say it’s old hat,” the Oscar nominee told HOH.

“I’m really here as much of a supporter of this bill as I am somebody trying to educate myself,” Cheadle said.

Conservation issues tie into Cheadle’s humanitarian work because many world conflicts begin because of depleted resources, he said. He’s optimistic about the measure’s chances at passage, pointing out that a bipartisan group of Members is co-sponsoring it.

“It’s heartening,” Cheadle said, noting that several Members from both parties joined the effort a week after health care reform was finalized.

Cheadle isn’t the only celebrity advocate today: “Law and Order” star Mariska Hargitay testifies before a House Judiciary subcommittee on the backlog in testing rape kits, Cloris Leachman will be honored with Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.) by the National Osteoporosis Foundation, and pitcher Curt Schilling will honor Reps. Peter King (R-N.Y.), Charlie Dent (R-Pa.), Ed Perlmutter (D-Colo.) and Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) for their efforts combating melanoma.

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