The Keeper of the Velvet Rope

By Al Kamen
Monday, February 27, 2006

Loop Fans may remember Judith Czelusniak , the former Tyco International public relations chief, who two years ago seemed to have become public affairs director at the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.

Her name had popped up on the public affairs director's office door at the FDIC, and she had an office e-mail address and a phone number. But no one had spotted her there. Czelusniak, a veteran PR type, never occupied the office, instead becoming an FDIC consultant for a while.

Now Czelusniak may be the most popular person in Washington -- at least for the next two months. That's because she's head of PR for fast-growing Bloomberg LP; and, much more important, she's keeper of the list of those to be invited to the Bloomberg party following the black-tie White House Correspondents' Association dinner April 29 at the Washington Hilton.

The B.P. is Washington's version of a coveted post-Oscars party, offering a paler version of a scene at a hot New York club. Hollywood and other glitterati -- including Richard Gere , Elle McPherson , the plumber guy on "Desperate Housewives," Aerosmith's Steven Tyler , Venus and Serena Williams , Goldie Hawn and Mariska Hargitay of "Law & Order: SVU" -- mingle with diplomats, Cabinet and sub-Cabinet members, White House aides and Washington media types.

The velvet rope keeps importuning wannabes and autograph seekers away from those who count. The number this year, we're told, is going to be reduced substantially from the nearly 1,000 who turned up at peak last year. And Czelusniak, who compiles the list, will be there to monitor those she deems worthy entrants.

The party, traditionally held at the Russian Trade Ministry mansion until two years ago, will be at an as-yet-undisclosed location, though it will have to be within easy walking distance from the hotel for ladies wearing spiked heels.

So if you happen to see the woman, shown above, be nice.

Another Media Miss

The press once again overlooked a major story last week -- a stunning Senate breakthrough in lobbying and ethics reform legislation.

A joint statement issued by an "ad hoc bipartisan group of senators," announced it had "productive discussions concerning a broad range of issues."

What's more, the group -- Republicans Rick Santorum (Pa.), John McCain (Ariz.), Trent Lott (Miss.), Jon Kyl (Ariz.), David Vitter (La.), Johnny Isakson (Ga.) and Susan Collins (Maine), and Democrats Joseph I. Lieberman (Conn.), Barack Obama (Ill.), Christopher J. Dodd (Conn.) and Russ Feingold (Wis.) -- said they had "provided our insights -- both in the areas where we agree" and in areas where they don't, to the relevant committee leaders.

"We hope these insights will be of assistance," they said, noting that they all support "meaningful reform and greater accountability."

CONTINUED     1        >

© 2006 The Washington Post Company