Tennis Team Pairs Cabinet’s Sperling, Krueger: D.C. Scene

“I’m ready,” said North Carolina Democratic Congressman Mel Watt, loosening his tie while carrying a Wilson racket bag into the pre-game reception for last night’s Washington Kastles Charity Classic.

An hour later, the nominee to become the next director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency was in his tennis whites on the court at Kastles Stadium to compete against fellow lawmakers Democrat Jim Costa of California and Illinois Democrat Cheri Bustos.

Now in its second year, the annual event raises money for three local nonprofits: the D.C. Public Education Fund, Food & Friends, and Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors.

Costa and Bustos, sporting red T-shirts, were on the Stars doubles team, with Gene Sperling, the director of the National Economic Council, and Alan Krueger, the chairman of the U.S. Council of Economic Advisers.

Did the Obama officials have a chance to do any warm up practice together? “We’ve been working too hard,” Krueger said.

While guests dined on baked ziti and meatballs inside the VIP tent, Kastles owner Mark Ein, the founder and chairman of Venturehouse Group LLC, offered up the game of tennis as an example for politicians to follow.

“We’re going to prove that everybody can work together and get along on the tennis court of Washington, D.C.,” he said to applause.

Height Advantage

Ein played on the Stripes team in white T-shirts with former Senator John Breaux, founder of Breaux-Lott Leadership Group, who relished playing with “Meet the Press” anchor David Gregory, a strapping 6-foot-5. Rounding out the team were Watt, Congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito, West Virginia Republican, and Congresswoman Donna Edwards, Maryland Democrat, among other media personalities.

The event was sponsored by Comcast Corp., represented by top lobbyist Melissa Maxfield, and the Entertainment Software Association.

ESA lobbyist Erik Huey caught up with Jessica Moore, director of government relations for Walt Disney Co. On the courts, the final score was Stripes 42, Stars 39.

Energy Wonk

Sydney McNiff Johnson, a principal in Dentons Global Energy practice and the wife of former General Dynamics Corp. chief executive Jay Johnson, is known for her high-profile charity-ball hostessing, usually in a Carolina Herrera gown. She’s keen to point out the more than 30 years she has spent as an energy wonk.

On Tuesday, she pulled her old friend Senator Lisa Murkowski, the Alaska Republican and ranking member on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, away from nuclear-option negotiations to be the keynote speaker at her firm’s third annual Energy Outlook Series at the National Press Club, co-sponsored by Navigant Consulting Inc.

Speakers ranged from Brian Tobin, vice chairman of investment and corporate banking for BMO Capital Markets, to Janet Holder, executive vice president of Enbridge Western Access.

In between panels, first-time guest Joseph McMonigle, chief operating officer of the Abraham Group, sipped coffee and caught up on his mobile device.

A special discussion on “hot energy topics around the globe” brought out Georg Maue, first secretary of climate and energy policy at the German Embassy and his counterpart from the British embassy, Helen Guedalla.

(Stephanie Green is a writer and photographer for Muse, the arts and leisure section of Bloomberg News. Any opinions expressed are her own.)

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