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One Scoop Rule

April 16, 2009

Featured in The Washington Post

By Jeffrey H. Birnbaum

Tuesday, May 20, 2008; A11

Even with the advent of tough new restrictions on gifts, Congress is still making room for a traditional treat: ice cream.

The International Dairy Foods Association plans to hold its 26th Annual Capitol Hill Ice Cream Party next month. The event is always a highlight of the year for lawmakers, staffers and mooching journalists.

And that's not all. The anti-poverty One Campaign, made famous by rock star Bono, will sponsor an Ice Cream Social tomorrow on both the House and Senate sides of the Capitol. Ben & Jerry's is donating the sweet stuff, and hundreds of people are expected to attend.

But the new lobbying restrictions have reined in the festivities a little. Attendees at tomorrow's event can get no more than a single scoop at a time. Cones and disposable cups with plastic spoons will be used -- not fancy plates and silverware -- for fear the event might turn into something approaching a meal, which would be forbidden.

Navigating the ethics rules was "insane," said Tom Sheridan, a lobbyist for the One Campaign. "At one point I said, 'It's not worth it.' " But he persevered, allowing free ice cream to remain a staple on Capitol Hill. Read the full story.