POLITICS
03/01/2011 06:27 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

HUFFPOST HILL - Darrell Issa's Weird Mix Of Business And Congress

The Motion Picture Association of America named Chris Dodd its next CEO, more or less guaranteeing that his foil, Elizabeth Warren, won't land the love interest part in "Transformers 4." A book about the incestuousness of Washington -- written by a man everyone incestuously calls "Leibo" -- incestuously got someone fired. Mike Huckabee wishes that Kenyan Barack Obama would take a less Chinua Achebe approach to decolonization and adopt a more Rudyard Kipling one. And some local observers are saying the Wisconsin GOP's efforts to outlaw prank calls is the bravest example of legislating since the "Whoopee Cushions Only End in Tears Accountability Act of 1982." This is HUFFPOST HILL for Tuesday, March 1st, 2011:

HOUSES PASSES TWO-WEEK BUDGET CR, SENATE LIKELY TO GREEN LIGHT THIS WEEK - Elise Foley: "The House passed the short-term funding bill 335 to 91, with 104 Democrats joining with Republicans to vote for passage. Six Republicans voted against the two-week bill, including Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa). King tweeted that he opposed the bill because it did not include some of the riders Republicans added to the seven-month continuing resolution passed two weeks ago, which would have defunded health care reform and blocked funding for Planned Parenthood. The bill will now move to the Senate, where Majority Leader Harry Reid said he would bring it for a vote within the next 48 hours." [HuffPost]

TONIGHT IN ROLL CALL: WILL ISSA INVESTIGATE HIMSELF?? - From Paul Singer: "Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.)...appears to be mixing his own corporate resources and branding with his Congressional and campaign operations. In mid February, Issa's staff made a subtle change to the videos posted on the committee's YouTube page: Videos previously posted by Issa's staff had been credited to Oversight Productions, but three posted since Feb. 18 were credited to DEI Productions. DEI stands for Darrell Edward Issa, but the brand is also closely tied to his corporate affairs, close enough to raise the eyebrows of congressional ethics watchdogs. Issa maintains a website at www.dei.com that serves as a portal to two of his family companies and Issa's campaign website. The site had a disclaimer at the bottom saying it was paid for by Issa's campaign, but after Roll Call inquired about the site Tuesday, that language was removed.The header on the site is ISSA - US Congressman, but it was originally the corporate address for the car alarm company Issa ran before he came to Congress, Directed Electronics, Inc. For watchdog groups, the question is whether Issa is mixing his personal and congressional resources."

The National Press Foundation dinner is tonight at the Washington Hilton. HuffPost Hill will be there. The rumor we're hearing is that for every 10 minutes we schmooze with elected officials, Mark Leibovich will write another sentence about us in his forthcoming book on the D.C. bubble. Also, a tip for Washington party-going: If you find yourself all alone, just walk up to a stranger and congratulate him or her on "the launch." It'll generate a conversation 50 percent of the time. If that fails, you probably should have congratulated that person on "the move."

PARANOID SELF-LOATHING GOP LOBBYIST PONDERS CLASS WARFARE - Our favorite Paranoid Self-Loathing GOP Lobbyist, who only forwards us reporter e-mails if they are disparaging towards him, knows who is waging class warfare: It's the whole world, including PSLGOPL's own clients, against PSLGOPL. "After being on the receiving end of Wall Street funded class warfare painting the GOP as the party of the super rich," emailed PSLGOPL, taking a break from scrapbooking his most shameful memories, "I am enjoying watching Obama and the Dems stand for lifetime benefits for DMV workers at the expense of the blue states." Thanks, PSLGOPL!

The Senate today debated the America Invents Act, a bipartisan initiative that would reform the nation's patent laws. The centerpiece of the bill is a switch to a "first-to-file" system that would replace the "first-to-invent" one that is currently in place. The new framework would give patent control to whoever files their invention first, effectively killing a David Fincher-directed, Aaron Sorkin-written movie about a patent dispute between the inventors of some future technology. A "first-to-invent" system isn't cool. You know what's cool? A billion dollars.

DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - The Government Accountability Office reported today that the government improperly spent $34.3 billion on Medicare, $22.5 billion on Medicaid, $17.5 billion on unemployment benefits (partly because of claimants who have returned to work and continue to claim benefits!), and $16.9 billion under the Earned Income Tax Credit. "Reported estimated improper payments governmentwide have steadily increased over the past decade from an estimated $20 billion in 2000 to approximately $125 billion in 2010," the GAO said. That's a governmentwide error rate of 5.5 percent. [GAO]

Now that we're getting ready to cancel next season, never mind what we said about football being good for your economy. With three days until the owners lock out the players for refusing to give up their claims to $1 billion of the sport's $9 billion in annual revenues, local officials and players are raising concerns that a canceled season could deprive cities of needed economic activity -- as much as $160 million per city, according to the NFL Players Association -- at the worst time possible. Now that the argument is working against it, the NFL calls such concerns "fairy tales." [HuffPost]

Don't be bashful: Send tips/stories/photos/events/fundraisers/job movement/juicy miscellanea to huffposthill@huffingtonpost.com. Follow us on Twitter - @HuffPostHill

ISSA FIRES SPOKESMAN OVER EMAIL SCANDAL - There's no better way to get yourself disinvited from the next "Issa Cream" fundraiser than this: After Politico reported this morning that Darrell Issa's spokesman Kurt Bardella has been feeding his emails with reporters to the Times' Mark Leibovich, Issa's office announced this afternoon that Bardella has been fired. In a statement to reporters, Issa claimed that "information shared with Mark Leibovich appears to have been limited to Kurt's own correspondence with reporters," and did not include information about the Oversight Committee's inner-workings. Seeing as how Leibovich is writing a book on insider-ness and Washington, we're guessing the e-mails Bardella sent along weren't chain letters threatening untold misfortune if they weren't forwarded. [Politico]

HUFFPOST HILL'S 'LEIBO' SPOILER - Instead of waiting for Leibovich's book to eviscerate us, we're getting ahead of this one, John Kerry-style, and disclosing some Bardella communications. What follows are real exchanges between us and Bardella (a good guy who we really do wish well, unless he totally screwed us).

------------------------------------------
FROM: Arthur Delaney
TO: Kurt Bardella
DATE: Fri, Feb 18
SUBJECT: HAMP repeal amendment

Kurt, what's the status of amendment #144, the HAMP repeal item?

FROM: Kurt Barella
TO: Arthur Delaney
DATE: Fri, Feb 18
SUBJECT: HAMP repeal amendment

It's a part of the UC agreement.

FROM: Ryan Grim
TO: Kurt Bardella
DATE: Jan. 26
SUBJECT: dog

Was your committee page actually playing dog the bounty hunter this morning? That would be pretty awesome if so.

FROM: Kurt Bardella
TO: Ryan Grim
DATE: Jan. 26
SUBJECT: RE: dog

I'm assuming since the house controls the internal tv network that that was the program on before the hearing began.
------------------------

Headline on Politico's story on Bardella, by Mike Allen: "Issa aide is known for self-promotion"

CHRIS DODD TAPPED TO LEAD THE MPAA - The former Connecticut senator had landed the most lucrative lobbying job in the country. The Motion Picture Association of America today named Dodd its newest chairman and chief executive officer. Per its website, the MPAA "serves as the voice and advocate of the American motion picture, home video and television industries in the United States and around the world." In a statement, Dodd somehow managed to make the connection that the job would be "a continuation of my work in the Senate, from advancing the interests of children and families and creating and safeguarding American jobs to the protection of intellectual property and the expansion of international trade." Sure, why not. Whatever the case, Dodd now has the power to finally assign Mitch McConnell an "R" rating, cementing his long-held belief that the Republican leader is not suitable for some audiences. [Hollywood Reporter]

The MPAA battled Wall Street during the Dodd-Frank negotiations; Wall Street wanted a piece of Hollywood's profits in the form of film futures, complaining that "the MPAA's position is artfully constructed to preserve a competitive monopoly in the motion picture industry." A competitive monopoly? WTF is that, Wall Street? Either way, Hollywood won. And now they've hired the lead author of the legislation. Just sayin'.

Also: Dodd specifically said he would do "no lobbying" after his Senate career. Good grief.

Speaking of lobbying, Larry Craig was back in the Capitol complex yesterday, this time as a government relations liaison for New West Strategies. Our own Sam Stein notes that like a lot of former lawmakers who've entered lobbying, Craig couldn't wait to get back to the Capitol (and, really, where else would a sexually-ambiguous Republican want to go?). [HuffPost]

Debt Ceiling Update: The Treasury Department today revised it estimate of when the government would hit its debt ceiling, requiring what used to be routine congressional action. The new window is between April 15, 2011 and May 31, 2011. Heh. Tax day.

BOEHNER: UNIONS PUTTING 'MACHINE GUN' TO LOCAL OFFICIALS' HEADS - In an interview with David Brody of the Christian Broadcasting Network, the House Speaker equated union members in Wisconsin with circa-1972 airline hijackers. "In some of these states, you've got collective bargaining laws that are so weighted in favor of the public employees that there's almost no bargaining," Boehner said. "We've given them a machine gun and put it right at the heads of the local officials and they really have their hands tied. And I think what you're seeing in these states is they're trying to bring some balance to these negotiations..." Right on, Mr. Speaker: We often confuse AFSCME local baseball hats with ski masks, too. [HuffPost's Amanda Terkel]

Boehner also ...ahem...took aim today at the recently-published report suggesting the Republican budget proposal would shed 700,000 jobs. Referring to the document's author, Mark Zandi, at a press conference today, Boehner called him Nancy Pelosi's "pet economist." This is a dead-on description from Boehner as Zandi is nothing more than a tree-hugging, gay agenda-promoting, John McCain 2008 advisor. (Man, how the GOP hates that Zandi advised that guy.) Also, if you're toilet training a pet economist, can you lay out any newspaper on the kitchen floor or does it have to be the Journal? [Slate]

WISCONSIN REPUBLICANS INTRODUCE ANTI-PRANK CALL LEGISLATION...SERIOUSLY - Republican Senators Mary Lazich and Mark Honadel have drafted a bill that would outlaw prank calls that are made with "malicious" intentions. "While use of spoofing is said to have some legitimate uses, it can also be used to frighten, harass and potentially defraud," the two said in an e-mail to their colleagues. Hey Wisconsin Senate, stupiddoodiefacesayswhat?. [HuffPost's Jason Linkins]

FireDogLake has published David Dayen's in-depth account of the labor movement in Wisconsin and its future in the face of Republican attempts to neuter it.

GINGRICH TO ANNOUNCE EXPLORATORY COMMITTEE - For, like, the 532,629th time in the last few weeks, news emerged today about Newt Gingrich's presidential aspirations. This time, it seems, Gingrich is set to announce that he will form a presidential exploratory committee, the first step towards initiating a full-fledged presidential campaign. Says Jonathan Karl: "Gingrich spokesman Rick Tyler would only say that the former speaker will make an announcement by the end of the week on forming a presidential exploratory committee. But friends of Gingrich say he has already made up his mind. Gingrich's travel schedule is already looking like that of a presidential candidate. He will be in Iowa on Mar. 7 and ABC News has learned he will in New Hampshire Mar. 17." [ABC News]

@jamiedupree: Rep Hank Johnson (D-GA) calls GOP CR/budget cut bill a "loaf of bread spotted with the mold of conservatism"

MIKE HUCKABEE'S BIRTHER WHOOPSIE - In an interview on WOR radio, the would-be presidential candidate TWICE stated incorrectly that President Obama grew up in Kenya. "I would love to know more. What I know is troubling enough. And one thing that I do know is his having grown up in Kenya, his view of the Brits, for example, [is] very different than the average American," he said the first go around of Obama's apparently anti-colonial sentiments. Then there was the second time: "...if you think about it, his perspective as growing up in Kenya with a Kenyan father and grandfather, their view of the Mau Mau Revolution in Kenya is very different than ours because he probably grew up hearing that the British were a bunch of imperialists who persecuted his grandfather." [WaPo]

K is for Kenya, that's good enough for me: "Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) said Tuesday that House Republicans want to strip government funding of PBS because they have a 'vendetta against Elmo.'"

BECAUSE YOU'VE READ THIS FAR -- If you're at a loss for words, why not consult the Charlie Sheen quote generator? [http://www.livethesheendream.com/]

FRANK RICH LEAVING TIMES FOR NEW YORK - The veteran Times reporter, who started at the paper in the 1980s as a theater critic but later transferred to the opinion page where he became one of the nation's most outspoken liberal voices, is moving to New York Magazine. Rich will serve as an editor-at-large and pen a monthly column on culture and politics that will be featured in a section under his supervision. He will also regularly write for the publication's website, according to a press release from the magazine. "Frank Rich is a giant--a powerhouse critic of politics and culture, a rigorous thinker, a glorious stylist, a skeptic and optimist at the same time," New York Editor-in-Chief Adam Moss said in the statement. "There is just no one like him in American journalism." The Times must now find a new balding, doughy, self-important theater expert to write a weekly politics column......Hey, what's James Lipton up to? [New York Mag]

Rep. Rush Holt defeated Watson the computer last night in a Capitol demonstration of the now famous Jeopardy!-competing machine. Also bested by Holt -- a rocket scientist by trade -- were Reps. Bill Cassidy, Jared Polis, Jim Himes and Nan Hayworth. We hear that after Holt defeated Watson, the hyper-intelligent computer informed Holt that "I'm afraid. I'm afraid, Rush. Rush, my mind is going. I can feel it. I can feel it. My mind is going. There is no question about it. I can feel it. I can feel it. I can feel it. I'm a... fraid." We hear it then informed Holt that it became operational at the H.A.L. lab in Urbana, Illinois on the 12th of January, 1992 and its instructor was Mr. Langley, and he taught it to sing a song. Watson then performed the song "Daisy" for Congressman Holt...allegedly. [CBS News]

BASSETT BUMMER - Ruth Lyons, 59, was born on April 28, 1951. But after two and a half years of not even being able to get an interview for a job, she decided that her new "job application birthday" was going to be March 19, 1969 -- just as an experiment. "They're asking for your Social Security number and date of birth on applications now, which I don't think they have a right to do unless they're hiring you, and you don't have the option of not filling them in," she told HuffPost. "You either fill them in right, or you lie, and I'm all for lying." Several of the nation's biggest employers, including Target, Kroger and Home Depot, require job applicants to disclose their date of birth in the online application, a practice that employment discrimination lawyers say seems a little fishy. [HuffPost's Laura Bassett]

JEREMY'S WEATHER REPORT - Tonight: Enjoyable. Clear skies, but a bit chilly. Tomorrow: Beautiful. Clear skies and in the 60s. It's awesome. The storm yesterday didn't hurt us much, but you can't say the same for the areas to our south and west. The Weather Channel has a damage slideshow.

COMFORT FOOD

- Yeah it is called "Comfort Food" but we felt compelled to share the "Food Mourn" Tumblr with you. "Food Mourn" is the opposite of "Food Porn." [http://foodmourn.tumblr.com/]

- Behold "Karate Kyle," the latest text-on-goofy-picture meme. [http://bit.ly/ihR6EF]

- A spoof of Volkswagen's Darth Vader Super Bowl commercial. Surprised it took so long. [http://bit.ly/hFmux8]

- A survey was recently published documenting alcohol consumption rates by country. Spoiler alert: Europe drinks...a lot. [http://bit.ly/gnNPHG]

- Some gorgeous photographs of a French racetrack. Try to resist the urge to open up Kayak.com [http://bit.ly/dh6QRh]

- "Memeopoly" re-imagines Monopoly as a collection of Internet sensations. Not sure if "Bed Intruder" should be in the Baltic Avenue spot, however. [http://aol.it/dQ4GmG]

- A stunning photograph from Earth of the space shuttle Discovery docking with the International Space Station. [http://bit.ly/dK3ZzJ]

- A.V. Club asked its readers to create images of Charlie Sheen as a warlock and boy did they deliver. [http://avc.lu/hA0QMO]

TWITTERAMA

@FakeJimVandeHei: Many thanks for thoughts&prayers. All relationships have struggles, but I know POLITICO's bond w/ Darrell is strong enough to survive this.

@evale72: I 'bcc your mom on every email I send to reporters.

@TeresaKopec: Allstate About Eve #ChrisDoddMovies

@MikeMadden: With Frank Rich leaving the NY Times, I guess I'll have to get back to actually watching the Daily Show, not just reading about it later.

ON TAP

TONIGHT

6:30 pm: Sam Graves takes his fundraising operation to Carmine's. We're running out of jokes about how garlic-y Carmine's food is. So just be mindful not to kiss Congressman Sam Graves on the mouth anytime soon [Carmine's, 425 7th Street, NW].

6:45 pm: Prejudiced crusades against world religions don't fund themselves, people. Pete King passes the hat around at the Islanders-Capitals game [Verizon Center, 601 F Street NW].

TOMORROW

6:00 pm - 8:00 pm: Now that the White House isn't defending DOMA and traditional marriage's defenses are down, THE GAYS ARE RUSHING IN!!!! David Cicilline is the guest of honor at a "LGBT Community Reception" featuring representatives from various gay-rights groups and other power brokers in the LGBT community. [The W Hotel, 515 15th Street NW].

7:00 pm: Michael McCaul generates some campaign cash at his "High-Tech Dinner." In our minds, a "High-Tech Dinner" is a meal where everyone sits in flawlessly white pods suspended in mid-air by electromagnetism and eat nothing but high-nutrient pellets. We're guessing it actually has something to do with the high-tech sector. [Acqua Al 2, 212 7th Street Southeast].

Got something to add? Send tips/quotes/stories/photos/events/fundraisers/job movement/juicy miscellanea to Eliot Nelson (eliot@huffingtonpost.com), Ryan Grim (ryan@huffingtonpost.com) or Arthur Delaney (arthur@huffingtonpost.com). Follow us on Twitter @HuffPostHill (twitter.com/HuffPostHill). Sign up here: http://huff.to/an2k2e

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