K Street jitters

Posted: Jan 05, 2006 9:05 AM

Lobbyists all along K Street are re-examining their business and personal relationships with members of Congress, what with Jack Abramoff's guilty plea and word that as many as 20 lawmakers could be ensnared in the scandal.

"There will be many sleepless nights on Capitol Hill," we heard Kenneth Gross, head of the political practice at Skadden Arps in Washington, tell National Public Radio. "Mr. Abramoff has become a full-fledged member of the prosecution team as a result of this plea agreement."

As for lobbyists who are concerned about their past contributions to politicians?

"Historically, political contributions have not been treated as bribes," Gross stated. "If political contributions are bribes, then you ask for help from that same politician, then you could run a paddy wagon up K Street and clear out the place, because that's the way business is done in this town, and that doesn't make a bribe."


Nobody is immune to crime in the nation's capital. Six months after D.C. Police Chief Charles H. Ramsey's department-issued Ford Crown Victoria was stolen outside his home, D.C. Council member and former Mayor Marion Barry had a gun held to his head this week by robbers.

So much for being the "man of the people." The solution?

"It is mind-boggling that in the capital of the free world, where the original Constitution of the United States resides, that the citizens of that city may not exercise their Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms," says Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms Chairman Alan Gottlieb, who blames "Barry and his anti-gun colleagues on the City Council" for steadfastly opposing repeal of the gun ban in the District.

That isn't to say Barry could ever exercise the Second Amendment. The ex-mayor's crack-cocaine conviction in 1991 disqualifies him from legally owning a firearm.


"By age 15, I had sailed to Britain, Europe, North Africa and the Middle East. I had hunted jackals on horseback, climbed the Great Pyramid and peered into a volcano. It was fun. 'Isn't this bully?' I exclaimed to my brothers and sisters." - Theodore Roosevelt, if you didn't guess, known by most as "Teddy," who went on to become the youngest man ever to hold the office of president at 42.

Intriguingly enough, recalling these milestones in Roosevelt's life in a new children's book, "Theodore," is Frank Keating, a former Oklahoma governor who now lives in Washington.

What we didn't know is that Keating, who served two terms as governor from 1995 to 2003, received the Golden Spur Award of the Western Writers of America for a previous book he authored, "Will Rogers: An American Legend."


It was Jennifer E. Sims, the State Department's former deputy assistant secretary for intelligence coordination, who observed: "If intelligence cannot hope to bat 1,000, it still must aim to win the World Series."

Next Tuesday, at the International Spy Museum, of all haunts, Sims will surface alongside Burton Gerber, a veteran CIA operative who served 39 years as an operations officer and was chief of station in three communist countries, and Ambassador at Large Henry A. Crumpton, the State Department's coordinator for counterterrorism, to discuss current intelligence challenges and much-needed intelligence reform.

The trio recently co-edited and contributed to the comprehensive book "Transforming U.S. Intelligence." The conversation begins at 6:30 p.m. at the museum at 800 F St. NW.


Before we write the final politically correct chapter on 2005 - this one surrounding the just-concluded holiday season, when our nation's own government leaders struggled with calling a "Christmas tree" by its real name - we call your attention to a most intriguing Christmas card we received from the Embassy of the People's Republic of China.

That's right, the Communist Chinese.

"Merry Christmas," reads the card from Chinese Embassy Minister Zheng Zeguang.

And yes, this Christmas card was made in China


Urgent White House pool report correction Wednesday: "Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Edmund P. Giambastiani Jr., is an Admiral, not a General, as stated. ... Your pool apologizes for the error."

Being the nice guy he is, the admiral no doubt accepts the apology. But rest assured, he's Navy all the way. A graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, his early sea assignments included commanding Submarine NR-1, the Navy's only nuclear-powered deep diving ocean engineering and research sub, and the USS Richard B. Russell, its crew awarded three consecutive Battle Efficiency "E"s, three Navy Unit Commendations and two Fleet Commander Silver Anchors.

He led Submarine Development Squadron 12, an attack submarine squadron, and was commander of Submarine Force Atlantic Fleet; commander of Submarines Allied Command Atlantic; and commander of the Anti-Submarine and Reconnaissance Forces Atlantic.

Adm. Giambastiani was among the brass on hand to welcome President Bush to the Pentagon on Wednesday.