Last night I read a story in the Washington Post about how a constituent of Orrin Hatch tried to send a powerful message to her senator—with pizza!
What a great idea, I thought. What if I did something similar, urging Liz Warren to take the unborn and the likely victims of state-sponsored suicide into account when deciding how to vote on Neil Gorsuch? Unfortunately Hatch's office refused to accept the pizza and the accompanying note urging him to vote against Betsy DeVos's confirmation as secretary of education; she even ended up getting a call from the Capitol Police. But maybe Hatch was just being a spoilsport.
I tried three times to order a large pizza with mushrooms for Warren's address at the Hart Senate Office building and leave the driver a $100 tip with instructions to deliver the pie along with the following note:
Dear Senator Warren,
How are you? I've been sort of a fan of yours for years now. I really enjoyed your giving those daft regulators the old one-two a few years ago. Do they even believe their own gibberish? I think you are a great and effective voice against corporate greed in favor of solidarity with the poor and the marginalized. My wife also likes you a lot. I hope you are a fan of mushrooms; I don't know how you feel about meat, especially non-ethically raised meat (at my house we try our best only to purchase meat from ranchers and farmers that have raised their animals in a humane and sustainable manner, in part for environmental reasons, in part because I have some sympathy with vegetarianism—have you ever considered becoming a vegetarian?). Anyway, I know you're really busy, and I don't want to take up too much of your time, so let me get one really important thing out of the way. I want to be really clear that this (I hope!) delicious pizza is not in any way, shape, or form a bribe, nor should it be considered as such under 18 U.S. Code § 201 or any other relevant statutes by officials of the Department of Justice, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Congressional ethics committees, or similar bodies. Rather, it is a gift. If I may be permitted to quote from the website of the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Ethics: "A Member, officer, or employee may accept a gift, other than cash or cash equivalent, having a value of less than $50, provided that the source of the gift is not a registered lobbyist, foreign agent, or private entity that retains or employs such individuals. The cumulative value of gifts that may be accepted from any one source in a calendar year must be less than $100. Generally, gifts having a value of less than $10 do not count toward the annual limit." I assure you that this pizza cost less than $50 and that I am not a lobbyist, registered or otherwise, nor am I a foreign agent or the retainer or employer of any such agents. I am, as I say, a fan and I just wanted you and members of your staff to have a nice lunch this afternoon. Also—and again, see above my comments regarding the relationship between this gift and the select committee's gloss of Senate Rule 35.1(a); I don't want to be misunderstood here!—I would just urge you when you think about how you're going to vote on Neil Gorsuch to weigh what you probably regard as his dangerous views on things like corporate "speech" against his belief that there is no constitutional right to murder babies or old people or people who are sick. IMHO it is really hard to be an effective advocate on behalf of all people if you think it's okay to kill some of them. So maybe just keep that in mind. Just my two cents and NOT, as I say, the conditions of a bribe or otherwise an inducement for you to "directly or indirectly, corruptly demand, seek, receive, accept, or agree to receive or accept anything of value personally or for any other person or entity, in return for" your vote. I hope there wasn't too much cheese on the pizza. I asked them to keep it light. All best, Matthew
Unfortunately, that didn't pan out. Papa John's, Domino's, and Pizza Hut all told me that they did not deliver to the Hart Senate Office Building.
If anyone has an inside guy at any of these places willing to accept a secret mission (we can talk about $$$: I have plenty at my disposal for work of this kind), please let me—and the Washington Post—know.