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Margaret Carlson Headshot

From Sex to Church, Washington Rebuffs Rules

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At Jack Valenti's funeral in Washington on Tuesday, I was reminded of the old observation that the powerful always expect to be the center of attention, including ``the bride at the wedding, the corpse at the funeral.''

Senator Pete Domenici arrived 20 minutes late, well after the side doors to St. Matthew's Cathedral had closed, and at the exact moment the cortege reached the top of the steps and paused before proceeding down the center aisle.

Like most senators, Domenici isn't used to waiting even for the deceased. He turned sideways to gauge whether he could squeeze past the remains of Valenti, a former Hollywood lobbyist. If it weren't for pallbearers twice his size, he might have. In a church packed with the likes of Steven Spielberg and Michael Douglas, Domenici marched toward the altar, presuming someone would make room for him. Someone did.

The incident is a reminder of how people in Washington comport themselves as if the rules don't apply to them. That mindset has Domenici in hot water trying to explain away a call to David Iglesias, the U.S. attorney in his home state of New Mexico.

When Iglesias told Domenici he wouldn't be indicting a Democrat in time to help Republicans in the 2006 elections, he said Domenici angrily hung up. Iglesias was fired shortly thereafter in a purge of eight that's become the subject of a congressional inquiry. Domenici has hired a lawyer.

Read the whole column here.