No Joke: Rep. Sanchez Has a Steady

Rep. Linda T. Sanchez and her consultant boyfriend, Jim
Rep. Linda T. Sanchez and her consultant boyfriend, Jim "Sully" Sullivan. She says he gets the whole politics thing -- even the part about reporting gifts. (Courtesy of Rep. Linda Sanchez - )
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By Amy Argetsinger and Roxanne Roberts
Thursday, September 25, 2008

As Congress's finest stand-up comedian, Rep. Linda T. Sanchez has mined some of her best material from her real-life travails as a single woman in Washington's dating pool.

Will she have to change her act now that she's got a steady?

Capitol Hill folks have been asking about the gentleman who has shown up with the California Democrat at parties and on her recent book tour for "Dream in Color" (a memoir with sis Loretta). He's her boyfriend of a year and a half, a Connecticut government-affairs consultant named Jim Sullivan.

"Members are coming up to me and saying, 'Oh, congratulations,' " she told us. But Sanchez and Sullivan are not getting married -- not yet, anyway.

Sanchez, 39, and Sullivan, 43, both divorced, met at a 2006-cycle fundraiser through Rep. John B. Larson (D-Conn.), but "he didn't really make an impression on me," she said. A year later, in Washington, Larson invited Sanchez along to a constituent dinner. She sat next to "Sully," as she calls him, and this time he made an impression.

He's from an Irish Catholic family of eight kids; she's from a Latino Catholic family of seven kids. And he gets the whole politics thing, having run for Congress in 2004. "I can drag him to events in D.C. and leave him alone to talk to people, and I don't have to worry if he's having a lousy time," she said.

The tricky part about dating a congresswoman? On a trip to Ireland last year, "he paid for the hotel rooms. That, technically, was a gift, and we had to get special permission" from ethics overseers. Wow. What about, theoretically speaking, an engagement ring? They'd have to report that, too. "Not exactly romantic," she said.

So does this mean that Sanchez, who once won the "Washington's Funniest Celebrity" contest and has performed stand-up at other charity events, is out of material? No way: "There's lots of comedic gold in relationships, let me tell you."

Sullivans Are on the Case

Why is the Ted Stevens federal corruption trial like an Irish wake?

Everyone in the room is a Sullivan!

Judge Emmet G. Sullivan will preside over today's opening arguments in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, our colleague Del Quentin Wilber reports. The Justice Department prosecutor is Edward Sullivan. The Alaska senator's defense attorney is Brendan Sullivan. Hard to keep straight? "No, I don't think so," the court reporter told us. She uses the lawyers' first initials in the transcript; the judge is simply "The Court."

Then again, from the court reporter's perspective, it's just another family reunion. Her name? Jackie Sullivan.


· A testy Michael Douglas tried to distance himself yesterday from his famous Gordon Gekko role in "Wall Street." While lobbying for a nuclear test ban treaty at the United Nations, the actor fielded questions about the U.S. financial crisis and the movie's iconic "greed is good" mantra. "Are you saying, Gordon, that greed is not good?" a reporter asked. "I'm not saying that," said Douglas. "And my name is not Gordon. He's a character I played 20 years ago."

· Luke Russert apologized for a foot-in-mouth comment yesterday. During a live interview on "Today" at the University of Virginia, he said the school has a lot of "smart kids" and is therefore leaning toward Barack Obama in the presidential race. Soon after, Russert released an apology: He meant to say that many students come from well-educated, affluent households that support the Democratic ticket, but that plenty of smart U-Va. kids will vote for John McCain. Oh, and that other Virginia schools have plenty of smart kids, too! Glad we cleared that up.

HEY, ISN'T THAT . . . ?

· Hilary Phelps and Robyn Dixon shopping in Chevy Chase on Tuesday night. The sister of Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps and the wife of newly signed Washington Wizard Juan Dixon dropped by the grand-opening party of Nanette Lepore's boutique.

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