- The Washington Times - Monday, March 23, 2009

LAWYER TAILS

Not 12 months ago, Democrats on Capitol Hill were screaming for the Justice Department to minimize public exposure to a half-dozen or so authorized high-level officials. Too much politicization, they claimed.

”Change has come to Justice,” says a Justice Department lawyer. “Now the Executive Office of the President is directly soliciting … Justice to provide volunteers to run the White House Easter Egg Roll. You can’t make this stuff up.”

On the condition of anonymity, the lawyer provided Inside the Beltway with his invitation: “Peter Cottontail is heading to the White House very soon. Please circulate this form to all staff … who might be interested in volunteering at the historic Easter Egg Roll on the White House South Lawn.”

DODDERING?

A Washington fundraising party will be held Wednesday for embattled Sen. Christopher J. Dodd, chairman of the Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee, who has become “poster boy” for the crash of the nation’s financial markets.

”Let’s help to re-elect this five-term incumbent senator from Connecticut,” says the invitation to the evening bash at 2651 Woodley Road NW, which seeks “host” contributions of $5,000, “PAC” gifts of $2,500, and “individual” donations of $1,000 - all made out to “Friends of Chris Dodd.”

Meanwhile, the Associated Press opined over the weekend that “Democrats may want to start thinking about a bailout for Christopher Dodd,” who faces a tough re-election.

“After first denying it,” the wire service noted, “Dodd admitted he agreed to … dilute an executive-bonus restriction in the economic stimulus bill that Congress passed last month. The change allowed AIG to hand out the [$165 million] bonuses.”

Mr. Dodd is also under an ethics probe for mortgages he secured from Countrywide Financial Corp., the lending giant at the center of the mortgage crisis.

GATHER FOR GADHAFI

The Livingston Group (TLG) in Washington is helping organize the 40th anniversary celebration of Col. Moammar Gadhafi’s 1969 coup takeover of Libya, while also working to reduce airport hassles of Libyan officials and citizens by the U.S. Transportation Security Administration.

O’Dwyer’s Public Relations News (odwyerpr.com) calls attention to a 42-page document stamped “confidential,” crediting former House Speaker-designate Bob Livingston, Louisiana Republican, and his TLG team for working “around the clock” to ensure passage of a bill signed into law in August that approved settlement claims with family members of doomed Pan Am Flight 103, which Libyan agents packed with explosives and blew up over Lockerbie, Scotland.

“ ‘Recognition of 40th Anniversary of the Revolution’ is among special projects that TLG plans to tackle,” O’Dwyer states. “It plans to show how life has improved under Gaddafi and identify U.S. companies eager to join the festivities.”

RACE ASIDE

Bishop E.W. Jackson Sr., the former chaplain of the Boston Red Sox and Boston Fire Department, who later founded Exodus Faith Ministries in Chesapeake, Va., has launched “Obama Watch,” a weekly commentary carried on more than 250 radio stations.

”I am an African-American, but I am American first,” announced Bishop Jackson, “and I want my country to succeed. I want President Obama to succeed only to the extent that his policies are right for the country, and that is clearly not the case so far. I have been disturbed by the direction in which our new president is taking America. I intend to watch the administration’s actions closely and call them as I see them.”

Commentary by the Harvard Law School graduate, who studied theology at Harvard Divinity School, is carried over the Radio America network.

MARIANI SPOTTING

That was the renowned globe-trotting restaurant critic John Mariani, author of the Encyclopedia of American Food & Drink, who every year chooses America’s best new restaurants for Esquire magazine, slipping into town to dine at chef and proprietor Robert Wiedmaier’s (Marcel’s, Brasserie Beck) much-heralded new restaurant, Brabo, in Old Town Alexandria.

The restaurant space, created by New York designer Vicente Wolf, is named for Roman hero Silvius Brabo, who inspired the residents of Antwerp, Belgium, by slaying the terrifying giant Antigone.

• John McCaslin can be reached at 202/636-3284 or John McCaslin.

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