If Jay Footlik makes it to Congress, he may have some apologizing to do to his fellow Democrats for playing a minor but key role in the early days of President Bill Clinton’s affair with Monica Lewinsky. At the time, Footlik, who is running in Illinois’ 10th district, worked in the White House Office of Presidential Personnel. It was Footlik who escorted Lewinsky — whom he knew from her days working at a tie store in a California mall — to the West Wing for one of the smitten intern’s early encounters with Clinton, according to an interview by FBI agents, as detailed by the Office of the Independent Counsel’s famous must-read Starr report. Lewinsky had asked Footlik to escort her because she wanted to give Clinton a Christmas gift and she didn’t have a pass that would allow her to walk unescorted into the West Wing. [IMGCAP(1)]
When Footlik and Lewinsky got to the West Wing, Footlik left Clinton and Lewinsky standing in a hallway while he mingled at a birthday party being held near the Oval Office before returning and entreating her to go back with him, according to the report.
Footlik’s campaign manager says the meeting his boss enabled between Clinton and the woman who would nearly topple his presidency is much ado about nothing. “Jay Footlik is a footnote in the Starr report,” said Simon Behrmann, Footlik’s campaign manager.
Day in Court. Mike McHaney, the former scheduler for Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) who was arrested for allegedly attempting to have sex with a minor, will face a federal judge today. McHaney is set to go before Judge John Facciola in a hearing this afternoon to determine whether there is probable cause to go forward with the case, a spokesman for the D.C. U.S. attorney’s office tells HOH.
During that hearing, McHaney, who was detained following his arrest, will ask to be released, according to his attorney Thomas Abbenante, who would not comment on the charges. If the judge determines that there is probable cause to believe McHaney is guilty, the trial is likely to take place sometime next year, the spokesman said.
Cantwell promptly fired McHaney on Friday after learning of the arrest. The Senator’s office had no further comment on Tuesday after releasing a statement late Monday announcing McHaney’s firing. “Our office has and will continue to fully cooperate with the ongoing federal criminal investigation,” Chief of Staff Michael Meehan said in the statement. “Senator Cantwell has zero tolerance for crimes against children.”
According to court documents, McHaney allegedly communicated with a government witness who offered to set up a rendezvous between McHaney and a 13-year-old boy. The documents indicate that McHaney was at work on Nov. 30, and told the witness, via an AOL account, that he could take a “long lunch” for the assignation. He was arrested when he arrived at the witness’ home.
It isn’t yet clear whether Cantwell’s office will turn over information on McHaney’s work computer. But it isn’t likely that the naughty communications would have been stopped, absent the FBI’s sting. According to the Senate Sergeant-at-Arms’ office, the content of e-mail and instant messages isn’t monitored, except in cases where incoming mail is believed to be spam. And the Senate does not block access to Web sites, except those that might pose a danger to the Senate’s own system, such as file-sharing networks.
Bono Makes Like Jennifer Lopez. As if “Congresswoman” wasn’t an impressive enough job, Rep. Mary Bono can now put “wedding planner” on her résumé. The California Republican, whose Dec. 15 nuptials with fellow Republican Rep. Connie Mack IV (Fla.) are quickly approaching, has been preparing for the ceremony sans outside help. “She’s doing all the planning,” confirms her spokeswoman Jennifer May.
Bono and Mack picked Asheville, N.C., for their ceremony because it is neutral political territory and also near Bono’s elderly father. But Bono hasn’t had to deal with a ballooning guest list. The marriage — a second for Mack, a third for Bono — is going to be a small family affair with about 30 of their closest friends and family.
Bono’s not the only member of Congress about to tie the knot. Wyoming GOP Sen. John Barrasso also set the date with the late Sen. Craig Thomas’ (R-Wyo.) state director Bobbi Brown. The pair will be getting married Jan. 1 in Thermopolis, Wyo. Barrasso is keeping it a fairly small family affair and is forgoing a cowboy theme, says his spokesman Gregory Keeley. Still, his beloved home state will be represented at the celebration. “Funnily enough, the cakes will be in the shape of Wyoming — like most wedding cakes … as Wyoming is basically a rectangle,” joked Keeley. Next spring the Barrassos plan to hold a reception in Casper, Wyo., that will be open to the people of the state who want to help the couple celebrate their marriage.
A Link Too Far. In the world of Web sites, linking to another site is usually considered something of a compliment. But linking can be dangerous — and can run one afoul of House ethics rules, as in the case of Rep. Jane Harman (D-Calif.), whose campaign Web site includes a link to her Congressional page, a violation of a ban established by the House ethics committee.
Alerted to the illegal link, Harman called it an oopsie. “I appreciate Heard on the Hill bringing this to my attention,” she tells us. (By the way, you’re welcome, Congresswoman.) “Neither my staff nor I was aware of it and assume the link was built in incorrectly by an independent contractor hired by my campaign in 2003.” Harman says she regrets the error and is having it taken down ASAP.
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Correction: Dec. 5, 2007
The column misidentified Sen. John Barrasso’s (R-Wyo.) fiancee, Bobbi Brown, as his former state director. Brown worked as the late Sen. Craig Thomas’ (R-Wyo.) state director.
The item also misidentified the upcoming nuptials of Rep. Mary Bono (R-Calif.) as her second marriage. It is Bono’s third.