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Tuesday, May 29, 2007

History Lesson in Lawmakers' DWIs

The Pioneer Press did an article titled Their Peers Forgive, But DWIs Haunt Lawmakers (you need to register to read it). It's the usual cover piece for when a DFL politician gets into trouble and the local print media touts out a story that basically says "hey, everyone does it – nothing to see here. Move along. Move along." This is in regards to Senator Metzen’s DWI just hours after the legislative session ended.

To justify the theorem that "everyone does it", the Pioneer Press published a list of past DWI offenses by lawmakers dating back to 1974 (it's at the bottom of the article). But I think the history lesson undermines their premise. What do you think?

Here it is for your reference:

1974 - Rep. James Rice, DFL-Minneapolis, is fined $150 for careless driving after being charged with DWI. A 10-day jail sentence is stayed on condition of alcohol treatment.

1983 - Sen. Sam Solon, DFL-Duluth, receives a $550 fine and a suspended 60-day jail term after pleading guilty to driving while intoxicated and having an open bottle in his car.

1989 - Rep. Joseph Begich, DFL-Eveleth, pleads guilty to drunken driving and is sentenced to a stayed 30-day jail term and a $300 fine.

1990 - Rep. Andy Dawkins, DFL-St. Paul, receives a $300 fine and a suspended 30-day jail sentence after pleading guilty to drunken driving.

1993 - Sen. Duane Benson, IR-Lanesboro, is placed on one year's probation and fined $300 after pleading guilty to a charge of careless driving. An original charge of drunken driving was reduced in a plea agreement.

1995 - Sen. Don Samuelson, DFL-Brainerd, pleads guilty to drunken driving, is fined $465 dollars and receives a 30-day stayed jail sentence.

1995 - Rep. Bob Johnson, DFL-Bemidji, is arrested for driving while intoxicated three times in six weeks. He pleads guilty to habitual drunken driving and is sentenced to 60 days in jail. He later receives another 30 days in jail and a $1,500 fine. He is censured by the House of Representatives.

2000 - Rep. Rob Leighton, DFL-Austin, pleads guilty to gross misdemeanor DWI, is fined $900 and sentenced to serve 30 days of a one-year sentence.

2004 - Rep. Tom Rukavina, DFL-Virginia, pleads guilty to driving while impaired and is sentenced to the maximum penalty of a $1,000 fine and 90 days in jail, which is stayed for two years of probation.

2007 - Former Sen. Ted Mondale, DFL-St. Louis Park, pleads guilty to drunken driving. He receives a 30-day stayed jail sentence, a $500 fine and 48 hours of community service.

Is it just me or is there a pattern here?

Maybe the DFL-controlled legislative session should have concentrated on the prohibition of alcohol instead of smoking.


Blogger Daria said...

Inspiration for a new saying: "He/she spends money like a drunken politician".

But there are also a lot of presumably sober politicians that are afflicted with the disease of big government spending.

- D

5/30/2007 6:15 PM  
Blogger G-Man said...

So when Democrats get drunk on power they tax, spend, regulate, and celebrate?

5/31/2007 8:31 PM  
Blogger jroosh said...

Are you kidding me? Is that really the complete list? Only one IR and the rest are DFL and the Strib actually posted it?

6/03/2007 9:56 PM  
Blogger Frake said...

Thanks for the comments guys!

This was kind of a light hearted post for which did not need any real serious commentary. I just thought it humorous that the print media sought to trivialize Senator Metzen’s DWI but used historical evidence that only made DFL politicians look worse.

With regards to jroosh’s comment, I don’t know if this is the complete list; I didn’t verify it. I just quoted the paper. Like I said, I think this history lesson worked against the paper’s goal of trivializing a DFL politician’s DWI.

The Strib did not print it; the Pioneer Press did (the other Twin Cities’ paper). Maybe the Strib did the same research and thought it won’t be in its party’s (DFL) interest to bring this to light. :-)

6/07/2007 9:00 PM  

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