washingtonpost.com  > Politics > Federal Page > Columns > In the Loop
In the Loop

Miami 'Riot' Squad: Where Are They Now?

By Al Kamen
Monday, January 24, 2005; Page A13

As we begin the second Bush administration, let's take a moment to reflect upon one of the most historic episodes of the 2000 battle for the White House -- the now-legendary "Brooks Brothers Riot" at the Miami-Dade County polling headquarters.

This was when dozens of "local protesters," actually mostly Republican House aides from Washington, chanted "Stop the fraud!" and "Let us in!" when the local election board tried to move the re-counting from an open conference room to a smaller space.

_____In the Loop_____
The Other Right Hand (The Washington Post, Jan 21, 2005)
Lowering the Boom (The Washington Post, Jan 19, 2005)
Al Kamen (The Washington Post, Jan 17, 2005)
Inaugural Short Circuit (The Washington Post, Jan 14, 2005)
Shipping Out for Inauguration Day (The Washington Post, Jan 12, 2005)
More In the Loop
Add In the Loop to your personal home page.

With help from their GOP colleagues and others, we identified some of these Republican heroes of yore in a photo of the event.

Some of those pictured have gone on to other things, including stints at the White House. For example, Matt Schlapp, No. 6, a former House aide and then a Bush campaign aide, has risen to be White House political director. Garry Malphrus, No. 2 in the photo, a former staff director of the Senate Judiciary subcommittee on criminal justice, is now deputy director of the White House Domestic Policy Council. And Rory Cooper, No. 3, who was at the National Republican Congressional Committee, later worked at the White House Homeland Security Council and was seen last week working for the Presidential Inaugural Committee.


Here's what some of the others went on to do:

No. 1. Tom Pyle, who had worked for Rep. Tom DeLay (R-Tex.), went private sector a few months later, getting a job as director of federal affairs for Koch Industries.

No. 7. Roger Morse, another House aide, moved on to the law and lobbying firm Preston Gates Ellis & Rouvelas Meeds. "I was also privileged to lead a team of Republicans to Florida to help in the recount fight," he told a legal trade magazine in a 2003 interview.

No. 8. Duane Gibson, an aide on the House Resources Committee, was a solo lobbyist and formerly with the Greenberg Traurig lobby operation. He is now with the Livingston Group as a consultant.

No. 9. Chuck Royal was and still is a legislative assistant to Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), a former House member.

No. 10. Layna McConkey Peltier, who had been a Senate and House aide and was at Steelman Health Strategies during the effort, is now at Capital Health Group.

(We couldn't find No. 4, Kevin Smith, a former GOP House aide who later worked with Voter.com, or No. 5, Steven Brophy, a former GOP Senate aide and then at consulting firm KPMG. If you know what they are doing these days, please e-mail shackelford@washpost.comso we can update our records.)

Sources say the "rioters" proudly note their participation on résumés and in interviews. But while the original hardy band of demonstrators numbered barely a couple of dozen, the numbers apparently have grown with the legend.

For the Kids, No Wave of the Future

For several years, the Federal Emergency Management Agency had a nifty game for kids in the "For the Little Ones" section of its Web site.

"A tsunami has just hit FEMA Beach and has rearranged a few things," the instructions say. "Please put the 9 objects back where they belong to see the cyber-prize!"

The cartoon image has a car in the water, buildings askew in the background, a seal atop a palm tree, a beach ball on the "FEMA Surf Shack" roof and so forth.

FEMA officials, apparently on their own, took the cartoon down right after the Dec. 26 tsunami that killed more than 162,000 people in Asia, agency spokesman James McIntyre said Friday.


"Then we got calls from parents and educators," he said, "who said it provided a softer and gentler approach to the issues than the mainstream media provided. We kept it [off the site] until the search for survivors ended, and then put it up last week."

But someone spotted the game and alerted the Drudge Report last week, and calls and e-mails come rolling in to FEMA. The callers said "the game was insensitive," McIntyre said, so "because of the current environment, we pulled it again."

At 5 p.m. Thursday, the kids game was off the site. By Friday, almost all references to it had been erased. Unclear whether FEMA will put it back up again. "It's suspended for right now," McIntyre said.

We've got a feeling it won't be back up -- ever.


© 2005 The Washington Post Company