Only certain folks qualify for memorabilia

January 17, 2013

Eager to get a little presidential swag, a few gifts for people coming to town to attend the inauguration?

You can do it online at the Presidential Inauguration Store, where you’ll find items ranging from caps for $10 to fancy designer clothes for around $125, to a “medallion set” for $7,500.

It’s simple: You just click on the item you want and then “add to cart.” When you’re done shopping, you click on “Go to checkout.” Don’t forget to “apply discount code,” which is “2013” and gets you a 15 percent discount.

Then you fill out the standard billing form: name, address, credit card info. You also have to say who your employer is and give your occupation. Then there’s this: “If this donation is from an entity rather than an individual, please provide the name of that entity here.”

Donation? Well, whatever. But then, before you can get to the final purchase, there’s this:

“By clicking this button I certify” six things: that you are over 16, that you’re a citizen or lawful resident, that if you are a company it’s an American one, that the money is not from a political action committee, that no one’s giving you money to make the “donation,” and that you are not a registered lobbyist.

That’s right. While the committee has dropped the ban on corporate contributions that it had during the last inaugural preparations, it will not accept money from certain employees of those corporations.

Probably not a good idea to lie on the form, so some lobbyists, sadly, may be swag-less.

“My children will be devastated to learn that I will be unable to bring home the much-sought-after $5 presidential dog button,” said Peter Goelz , former managing director of the National Transportation Safety Board and a current registered lobbyist. “Will the humiliation ever cease?”

But wait! If you’re in town — as many lobbyists naturally are — you can go to the inauguration store at 1155 F St. NW and buy stuff there, no questions asked.

But if you buy more than $200 worth of stuff, you have to sign a form (for the Federal Election Commission) and — uh-oh — you must “certify” that you are not a “currently registered lobbyist.”

So you can “donate” some cash for swag, just no more than $200. Unclear whether you can shop there every day.

Watch your back

The Oscars won’t be given for another month, but there are other awards worthy of note.

We got this announcement Thursday from the Italian American Democratic Leadership Council about Obama’s 2012 campaign manager: “Jim Messina to receive Machiavelli Award as the Italian American Democrat of the Year at Inaugural Reception Sunday.”

The council says the “award honors the legacy of Niccolo Machiavelli, the first political scientist, and showcases a current political mastermind.”

Quite so. Of course Machiavelli, author of “The Prince,” is best remembered for counseling that, on occasion, opponents need to be dealt with most forcefully. Hmmm.

Kerry’s orbit . . .

He’s been a senator for 28 years, ran for president in 2004 and chairs the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, but Secretary of State-in-waiting John Kerry doesn’t have a large stable of foreign policy aides and pals to take with him should he be confirmed.

He’s likely to take a few aides with him to Foggy Bottom. Among them: his Senate chief of staff, David Wade; his committee staff director, Bill Danvers; and former committee staff director Frank Lowenstein.

He’s also asked Hillary Clinton’s deputies Bill Burns and Tom Nides to stay on for a while. Burns apparently will; Nides’s intentions are unclear.

There are plenty of jobs potentially opening as Hillaryland empties out. But sources say it’s most unlikely Kerry will be able to cut the same deal that Clinton had with President Obama, who ceded her virtual carte blanche in hiring about 50 “principals” (assistant secretaries, undersecretaries, etc.), 30 or so non-career appointees (senior officials not requiring Senate confirmation, such as Chief of Staff Cheryl Mills and all those special reps and such) and close to 100 lower-level aides.

Kerry will doubtless have substantial leeway in personnel matters, but look for much more White House input this time around in filling most of those jobs as they come open.

Clinton’s immediate office is expected to move out quickly along with others in her coterie. Still, we’re hearing many top officials are wanting to stay on.

. . . and Pelosi’s

The office of House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi is undergoing a reshuffle prompted by the departure of her chief of staff of eight years, John Lawrence.

Lawrence has been a House staffer for 38 years, most of which he spent working for Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.) — making him the longest-serving House aide, according to National Journal. Pelosi promoted Communications Director Nadeam Elshami to fill Lawrence’s shoes. Elshami’s deputy, press secretary Drew Hammill, moves into his boss’s old job.

Pelosi also expanded George Kundanis’s duties as deputy chief of staff, and named senior adviser Diane Dewhirst as another deputy chief of staff.

In other personnel news, the National Park Service’s long-serving chief spokesman, David Barna, is retiring, the agency has announced. He’s been on the job for 18 years and has been a federal worker for 38 years.

No replacement was immediately named.

With Emily Heil

The blog: washingtonpost.com/
intheloop
. Twitter: @InTheLoopWP.

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