John McCaslin

A complaint would have to be filed with the FEC before the commission could issue an advisory opinion, and even then it would remain confidential until completed, Mr. Biersack said.

That said, this column is unable to determine whether a complaint already has been filed, perhaps by the Barack Obama campaign.

Set himself up

"Wait a minute," writes Inside the Beltway reader Mitch Moschetti of Mills River, N.C., after reading our item this week on Elton John performing a fundraising concert in New York next month on behalf of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's presidential campaign.

"Didn't Elton John say this country was racist for failing to support a black contestant a couple years ago on 'American Idol?' "

Good memory, Mitch. Indeed, Sir Elton did decry the voting process of the "American Idol" TV show as racist, despite the fact that the votes for the contestants are phoned in by the American public.

"The three people I was really impressed with — and they just happened to be black, young female singers — all seem to be landing in the bottom three," the British pop singer complained back in 2004. "They have great voices. The fact that they're constantly in the bottom three — and I don't want to set myself up here — but I find it incredibly racist."

Dine and dish

Saying that too many political fundraisers are hosted by Washington lobbyists and filled with representatives of special interests, Sen. Barack Obama will choose four ordinary Americans for what his campaign is calling an intimate dinner with the candidate.

The only catch is you must first make a donation in any amount to his campaign between now and 11:59 p.m. Monday, March 31. The four winners then will get to sit down with the presidential candidate and talk about the issues most important to them.

Who pays for the diners' transportation to the dinner was not spelled out.

John McCaslin

John McCaslin is a contributing columnist on and author of Inside The Beltway: Offbeat Stories, Scoops, and Shenanigans from around the Nation's Capital .

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