Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Looking for Johns in All the Right Phone Records

Like others, I've been perusing the phone bills of the DC Madam. So far, I've found no other Republican senators--and nobody of note. I have, though, unearthed an intriguing phone number. More on that in a moment.

The telephone records of Deborah Jeane Palfrey list thousands of numbers and cover eleven years. I've looked at particular stretches, plugging the numbers into various reverse-number search services. Most of these searches produced no names. Many of the numbers are unlisted. Many are cell phone numbers, and the names of the owners are not available. Many numbers track back to hotel switchboards. (Most escort firms, I assume, do much, if not most, of their business with out-of-towners in hotel rooms who find the escort services the old-fashioned way. The Washington, DC, yellow pages contains nine pages of listings for escort firms.) I was lucky if I got one name for every ten to twenty numbers I looked up.

None of these names belonged to anyone of prominence. There was a former Army colonel working for a military contractor, a local dentist, a realtor, a medical firm executive, and a concierge at a fancy Washington hotel. I also found the home number for a female congressional aide who worked for the Republicans on a House subcommittee. (Perhaps she was working for the DC Madam on the side.) The most intriguing number I came across was this:


There was a brief call between someone at this number and Palfrey the day after Christmas in 1998. What's interesting is that 224 is the prefix for Senate phone numbers. The obvious question, then, is, who in a Senate office was talking to the DC Madam? Could it have been a senator? Senator David Vitter, a Louisiana Republican who has acknowledged calling her service, was not elected to the Senate until 2004. Or was it a Senate aide looking to take advantage of her services? Or was it a Senate employee working for the escort service? Or did someone dial a wrong number?

On-line searches of the number have yielded no clues. And I have yet to discover a searchable Senate phone directory from 1998. Thus, this clue remains just a clue.

There are plenty of bloggers and journalists examining the phone records. Perhaps they will get as lucky as Dan Moldea, my friend and occasional colleague, who found the Vitter needle in this gigantic haystack. But it is tough slogging. And I've found that many of the phone numbers listed in these bills have been changed or disconnected. Bottom-line: don't expect many more Republican lawmakers. And most are probably not as dumb as Vitter, who called the escort from his home phone.

Meanwhile, if you have any ideas on how to run down that 224 number down--or if you want to claim it as your own--contact me at And if you've missed the posting on Vitter below, check it out.

Posted by David Corn at July 11, 2007 11:38 AM


David B. Benson said...

David Corn --- I advise not wasting your time on this.

Instead research why the gvmnt is doing so little to mitigate global warming.

That is serious.
The other is not.

David B. Benson said...

Juan Cole on The Green Zone today.

Iraq continues to spiral dpwnwards, in an out-of control tail spin, like a shot down WW I biplane.

But monkeys inside the Beltway see no evil, hear no evil...

capt said...

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