Controversy ensnares ‘Dash Gordon’ team
By The Hill Staff
May 30, 2007
Rep. Bart Gordon (D-Tenn.) has been the subject of whispered controversy after his team “Dash Gordon” earlier this month won the ACLI Capital Challenge, a three-mile road race along Anacostia Drive, for the second year in a row.
Rivals were suspicious about a few new additions to his team. For instance, Laura Turner was ranked 10th nationally in the steeplechase at Stanford in 2002. And Conor Lanz, a two-time All-Patriot League cross country runner at American University, was named the Patriot League’s cross country scholar-athlete of the year in 2006.
Neither one works in Gordon’s office.
Gordon plucked Turner from a rival team. In 2004, Turner, who works for the House clerk, helped lead Rep. Jay Inslee’s (D-Wash.) team to a fourth-place finish. (In 2005, she ran for the clerk’s office and last year missed the race.)
Lanz has become a target of scrutiny because his name does not appear in House directories for 2006 and 2007. ACLI rules state that House teams must be chosen from congressional staff or from the immediate family of lawmakers serving as team captains.
The race website states ominously that teams with members who do not comply with the rules “leave themselves open to censure.”
Gordon seemed to incriminate himself when asked about his team at a wine-tasting event hosted last week by the Embassy of New Zealand.
“We had ringers this year,” said Gordon, perhaps emboldened by a few sips of Sauvignon Blanc.
But spokeswoman Julie Eubank defended her boss’s honor, saying that until last Wednesday Lanz was an unpaid fellow who worked in Gordon’s office three days a week while finishing up his master’s degree. She was not sure of his present whereabouts.
Including Gordon, Eubank said that “three of the four members have had affiliation with our office.”
“Brent and Chris have been running with Bart for years,” she added, referring to Chris King, a staff member of the Science Committee, which Gordon chairs, and Brent Ayer, who formerly served as Gordon’s chief of staff and now handles administrative matters for several House offices.
For winning the race, each member of Gordon’s team won a pair of embroidered socks.