Revealing: Eleanor Holmes Norton, the District of Columbia’s voting delegate to the U.S. House of Representatives, is captured on a lobbyist’s voice mail asking for campaign cash. No big deal; members solicit contributions all the time. The remarkable aspect is in actually hearing a member of Congress grovel for cash. It’s also interesting the way Norton brandishes her subcommittee chairmanship trying to get dollars from a lobbyist who apparently has given to other members but not her. (Insert cat fight audio.) Norton’s office says there’s nothing untoward in the phone call because it was made from her campaign headquarters, skirting a ban on members soliciting cash from federal property. Dicier is whether the call dodged ethics rules that prevent members from seeking cash in connection with their official capacities, such as subcommittee chairmanships. We’ll see.
The side story to the story is the way it was being handled — or not handled — by different news organizations. As of Thursday afternoon neither The Washington Post nor The New York Times had generated their own report on Norton’s activities, though the audio had been linked from Matt Drudge’s site all day and had been picked up by other online publications. By the way, Norton, 73, was nominated for a 10th House term with 90 percent of the vote in this week’s D.C. Democratic primary, tantamount to election in the heavily Democratic district.