Heard on the Hill: Dude, Where’s My Boss’s Campaign Car?

Posted September 22, 2010 at 5:45pm

This isn’t exactly the definition of toeing the party line.

Democrat Mike Oliverio, who is running for Congress in West Virginia, was in town Tuesday for an evening fundraiser at Bistro Bis. But earlier in the day, an HOH tipster saw Oliverio’s white sport utility vehicle — complete with a “Mike Oliverio Democrat Congress” printed in big letters on the door — being towed by a city tow truck.

Welcome to Washington!

Turns out a junior-level campaign staffer parked the vehicle, but being from rural West Virginia, the aide didn’t realize that when rush hour hits at 4 p.m., a no-parking rule goes into effect on the street where he parked it, an Oliverio spokesman tells HOH.

Thankfully, the tow truck only moved the SUV about a block away, and staffers found it without too much stress, the spokesman says.

Costner Back in Capitol

Actor Kevin Costner shared his thoughts with Members of Congress on Wednesday on how the government can respond to future oil spills in the Gulf of Mexico.

Yes, again.

The star of “Waterworld” (insert joke here) has been heavily promoting his work to clean up oil spills for the past several months on Capitol Hill. In June, he testified before a House Science and Technology subcommittee about a
$20 million device developed by his company, Ocean Therapy Solutions, that can separate oil from water.

BP bought 32 of Costner’s creations and deployed 21 of them during cleanup efforts after this summer’s oil spill, Costner said while testifying Wednesday before the House Homeland Security Committee. With the device now a proven success, Costner used this trip to present a highly detailed proposal developed by his new company, Blue Planet Solutions, on how the government can respond to future spills.

Costner’s vision, presented in a 26-page report, is much like a battle plan. It’s a three-tiered response involving 190 vessels that would be sent to a spill site to process the oil, at an estimated price tag of $850 million to $1 billion, Costner testified.

“The plan is simple. It is easy to understand,” Costner said. “It’s backed up by logistics and science.”

Uncle Junior’s D.C. Memories

When actor Dominic Chianese came to Capitol Hill on Wednesday, it was a homecoming of sorts.

Chianese, best known for portraying Uncle Junior on the HBO series “The Sopranos,” came to the Copyright Alliance Expo at the Dirksen Senate Office Building to raise awareness about copyright issues (and sign a few autographs).

Chianese tells HOH that he lived in Washington for two years as a young boy when his father was doing construction work in growing neighborhoods such as Silver Spring, Md. And although it was about 65 years ago, one of Chianese’s favorite memories could mirror a daily scene on Capitol Hill. Chianese’s father took him and his sister to Statuary Hall, where his dad put them on opposite sides of the room and had them whisper to each other.

“We could hear each other from the other side of the room,” Chianese recalls. “I’ll never forget that.”

During his visit, Chianese met with Members of Congress, including Sen. Patrick Leahy. The Vermont Democrat spoke at the expo, promising to work to protect copyrighted material in the digital age. Leahy speaks from experience — he’s earned royalties (which he donates to charity) from his photographs and film cameos, including his appearance alongside Heath Ledger in “The Dark Knight.”

“I didn’t realize that as a United States Senator I could make a lot of money getting thrown on my rear end by Heath Ledger, over and over and over again,” Leahy jokes.

Kagan Hits the Town … Again

The Supreme Court’s resident gal-about-town, Justice Elena Kagan, continued her tour of the D.C. dining scene this week. The judge was spotted having lunch with a male companion at chef Wolfgang Puck’s the Source on Tuesday. Kagan enjoyed the slow-cooked chicken salad sandwich, while the gentleman indulged in the Maine lobster club, HOH hears.

Kagan has been spotted throughout Washington all summer. In addition to the Source, she has also paid visits to Equinox, Poste and Bibiana.

Ladies’ Lunch

Several female Members of Congress took advantage of the House being in recess for most of the day and enjoyed a long lunch — complete with wine — atop 101 Constitution Ave. on Wednesday.

Democratic Reps. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (Fla.), Doris Matsui (Calif.) and Donna Edwards (Md.) were there to fete Speaker Nancy Pelosi as the California Democrat received the Alice Award from the Sewall-Belmont House and Museum, given annually to a woman “who has broken barriers and set new precedents for women.”

Members of Congress weren’t the only ones lunching; journalist Cokie Roberts emceed the event, while Pelosi’s daughter, Christine, and granddaughter, Isabella, served as the Speaker’s own cheering section.

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