Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
October 24, 2014

Hill Staffers Capitalize on Few Remaining Dome Tours

A planned overhaul of the time-worn Capitol Dome has sent Hill staffers into a frenzy for constituent-appeasing tours, a mad dash for the closely guarded reservations that’s spawned a black market of promised food, drink and even forced labor.

Hill Staffers Capitalize on Few Remaining Dome Tours

The Capitol Dome is set to undergo a long-overdue renovation, and tours will be curtailed after it starts. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The announcement of the two-year restoration project touched off a behind-the-scenes bidding war among those in congressional offices charged with securing the walk-throughs for folks back home. Architect of the Capitol aide Justin Kieffer confirmed that the last of those tours are scheduled to take place Dec. 15.

An HOH tipster provided us with a glimpse into the panicky exchanges bouncing back and forth on an internal administrative message board.

Some of those with reservations to spare, either because they had the foresight to book as many openings as possible or because of unexpected cancellations, are milking the situation for all it is worth.

“So, there is still 1 spot available for today at 2 pm. We like diet soda and chocolate,” one would-be extortionist put out there.

Others were a bit more demure. “We have a dome tour for Thanksgiving Friday we are looking to trade. This is a great date for a VIP family or relatives as the Capitol will be relatively calm,” the savvy auctioneer stated, urging interested takers to respond privately with their best offers.

Those unlucky enough to need spaces are proceeding rather shamelessly.

“I really need 2 slots on a dome … my offer: Slutty Brownies (they’re my specialty),” one desperate aide floated, wisely including a pic of the tempting cream-filled, chocolate-caked creations.

Another stopped just short of offering a pound of flesh, pledging to provide “intern labor, baked goods, etc!”

“Name your price!” the bargain hunter pleaded.

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