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Heard on the Hill: Funny Business

The show will go on — the “Funniest Celebrity in Washington— contest doesn’t seem to have lost any of its boldface participants, even though the event took a hit when the Washington Post’s Reliable Source reported on Tuesday that the purported fundraiser doesn’t contribute to the charities to which it promises money.

[IMGCAP(1)]Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) is slated to pick up a lifetime achievement award at the event tonight, while Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) is on tap to vie for the title.

Speier spokesman Mike Larsen says Speier will still take the stage after the event’s organizers assured her that the event would, in fact, result in a contribution to StandUp For Kids, a nonprofit that helps homeless and at-risk youth.

Nelson spokesman Jake Thompson says the “Ben-ator,— too, is still in. “He hopes that the event will succeed in raising money for a good cause … and he hopes he’ll succeed in being funny,— Thompson tells us.

The Reliable Source reported that tax records show the charity has made no donations to the charitable organizations it claims to benefit, with all of the revenues gobbled up by the cost of putting on the comedy competition.

Mike Schaffer, spokesman for the contest, tells HOH none of the participants has backed out. He says organizers “proactively— contacted participants to reconfirm their participation, and that so far, no one has switched an RSVP to a “no— or returned tickets.

Speier’s spokesman assures us that not only will his boss participate, but she’s also coming armed with some rib-ticklers. “I was just listening to her stuff, and it was cracking me up,— he tells us. “It’s good.—

No matter who wins, here’s hoping that the needy charity gets the last laugh.

Early Birds Get the Public Option? Filmmaker and flamethrower Michael Moore explained to a Washington audience on Tuesday why Republicans might be more successful than their liberal counterparts: They’re early risers.

Moore, appearing at a health care event with Public Citizen and the United Steelworkers, said conservatives wake up at 6 a.m., ready to fight, “living and breathing this stuff.— But liberals? “We don’t see six in the morning unless we’ve been up all night. … That’s why they get their way.—

Sounds like lefties should be drinking their coffee a little more, er, liberally.

Moore also tantalized the crowd with a little Washington whodunit: He claimed that a “well-known Democrat— called him after watching his new movie, “Capitalism: A Love Story,— in which the filmmaker takes aim at Sen. Chris Dodd, among other targets. The unnamed Democratic bigwig told him to “back off— the Connecticut Democrat, who is facing a tough re-election race, fearing the film would help assist Dodd’s defeat. Moore warned that Democrats shouldn’t count on liberals’ support.

But as for HOH, well, we just want to know who Dodd’s defender was.

Sea and Be Seen. Members of Congress aren’t getting a lot of love these days, but they should take comfort in knowing that an Oscar-nominated actress still has faith in them.

[IMGCAP(2)]“Alien— actress Sigourney Weaver came to Capitol Hill on behalf of the Natural Resources Defense Council, appearing alongside Members including Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) to screen a documentary about ocean acidification.

Weaver, who narrated the film, urged Congress to move to stop ocean pollution, noting that the body has taken similar action before by stepping in to prevent the development of land that now makes up America’s beloved national parks.

“It was really the legislators who really had the vision,— Weaver said, adding that places such as Sequoia and Grand Canyon would have been lost if “the legislators hadn’t had the vision to save us from ourselves.—

Now Weaver wants a new generation of Members to do the same for the seas. “Oceans contain so much life and variety that we don’t even see. A lot of it is, pardon the pun, alien to us,— she added.

Weaver wasn’t the only celebrity lobbying for sea life on Tuesday. “Mad Men— actress January Jones made her first-ever trip to the nation’s capital, lobbying on Capitol Hill as a representative of environmental group Oceana.

[IMGCAP(3)]Looking very much like her prim-and-proper “Mad Men— character Betty Draper — black eyeliner, teased blond hair and a retro-looking skirt suit — Jones pushed Members to support a bill to make shark finning illegal in U.S. waters.

She had a busy schedule, visiting with Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.), Tim Johnson (D-S.D.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) and Lautenberg, Rep. Sam Farr (D-Calif.) and Del. Madeleine Bordallo (D-Guam), according to an Oceana spokesman.

“I’m getting thrown right into it,— Jones said of her first D.C. visit. “I think I’ll be sightseeing, but it’ll be on the fly.—

Despite her South Dakota upbringing, Jones told HOH she grew up admiring sharks, noting that as a young girl “people called me shark because I had these sharp teeth.— Jones began working with Oceana on conservation efforts about a year ago and even swam with the scary sea creatures. “I’m just really excited that people wanted me to be here, that my voice means something,— Jones said.

Overheard on the Hill. “Usually, my wife says be quiet.—

— Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.), responding to audience requests to speak directly into the microphone at Tuesday’s Natural Resource Defense Council event.

“Those of u who abhor the use of shorthand‘skool’ for‘school’ ought to try to Tweet a message in 140bytes. Pls complain to Twitter.—

— Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), relaying to his 16,000-plus Twitter followers why he used “skool— in a previous (and much lambasted) tweet.

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