- The Washington Times - Sunday, June 26, 2011

Two interim heads of D.C. agencies have been accused of playing fast and loose with the rules in recent weeks.

Here’s the kicker: Both of them served as general counsel before rising to the top spot at an agency.

Neil A. Stanley’s bid for a promotion to head the Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services got a boost from “impactful” supporters at his confirmation hearing, according to council member Jim Graham. Then it was thrown into limbo by questions about his experience and, more importantly, claims that he edited down a job description to help a social acquaintance get a job in the agency.

Over at the D.C. Taxicab Commission, interim Chairman Dena Reed has been accused of prompting the arrest of a journalist who covered a recent meeting. The commission released a statement that says U.S. Park Police made the arrest based on the reporter’s behavior.

D.C. officials are looking into the claims in both agencies. But, really, shouldn’t lawyers know better?

Political shootout

Grab some popcorn and dim the lights. Political guru Larry Sabato this week compared the impending U.S. Senate matchup between Tim Kaine and George Allen to a Sergio Leone spaghetti Western, in which Mr. Allen will try to win back favor post-“macaca” and Mr. Kaine will attempt to erase potentially damaging connections to the national Democratic Party.

Who will be victorious? Not sure, Mr. Sabato said.

Known for his reliable “crystal ball” predictions, the University of Virginia professor released his forecast for the 33 Senate seats up for grabs next year. Virginia is one of six races he says could go either way but most will certainly be influenced by how things are going at the national level.

“This race is a total toss-up at this point and, perhaps in a cinematic twist, the dramatic ending of this film might be decided not by these two gunslingers, but instead by others: namely, [President] Obama and his Republican opponent,” Mr. Sabato wroteon his blog.

Mr. Sabato said the GOP could gain control of the Senate - barely. He thinks it’s likely Republicans pick up three seats, and possibly four or five. But will any races be as exciting as the one in Virginia between two former governors? Not likely.

“Maybe you could call it ‘Once Upon a Time in the Commonwealth,’ because the marquee Senate race in … Virginia is the political version of a Sergio Leone Spaghetti Western,” he wrote. “While the script is littered with extras - a Leone specialty - at the heart of this story are two political giants in a tug-of-war.”

All good points, but we’re thinking the race will be more akin to “A Fistful of Dollars.”

Business friendly

Maryland Business for Responsive Government, a conservative-leaning business advocacy group, released its annual “Roll Call” report last week, evaluating each of the state’s 188 legislators on the business-friendliness of their voting records during the General Assembly session.

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