The Hill | By Betsy Rothstein
January 5, 2009
Whether prompted by her partial-Greek heritage or an affinity for good prognosticators, Rep. Shelley Berkley (D-Nev.) recently sent a lighthearted note to Andrew Manatos, president of the Coordinated Effort of Hellenes in Washington, asking him to predict this year’s Super Bowl.
In a Dec. 29 letter, she gives him a nickname, saying, “As someone who shares your Greek heritage, and is familiar with the Delphic Oracle on Mt. Parnassus, I feel most qualified to bestow upon you the title, Washington’s Greek Oracle.”
She noted that his group met only with Democratic hopefuls Sens. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), Joe Biden (D-Del.) and Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) some 18 months before the presidential election — Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) spoke to the gathering of Hellenes by telephone.
The strange ties continue. An in-law to Manatos was deputy chief of staff to Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin’s (R) vice presidential campaign. And Manatos’s son, Tom, has worked as an aide to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).
But wait, Berkley says in the letter, there’s more evidence of “your Oracular Omniscience.” In the 1960s, Manatos worked for the Capitol Police Force, where he met fellow post-undergraduate policeman Harry Reid, now Senate majority leader.
“So, Andy,” Berkley concludes, “I trust you will apply your mystical powers to divine the Super Bowl winner and provide that information to me as soon as possible.”
Richard Urey, the congresswoman’s chief of staff, explained that Berkley and Manatos are longtime friends. “They are buddies through their Greek heritage,” Urey said. “Shelley is very active in the Greek community with Greeks here and in Las Vegas.”
Andrew Manatos is a campaign contributor to many Democratic members of Congress, including: Clinton and Sen. Mark Pryor (Ark.), Reps. Nita Lowey (N.Y.), Robert Wexler (Fla.), Rush Holt (N.J.), Brad Sherman (Calif.) and, yes, Berkley, who in 2007 received $1,000. Manatos also contributes to Republicans, including Reps. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (Fla.), Mario Diaz-Balart (Fla.) and Thaddeus McCotter (Mich.).