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It appears that dozens of members of Congress each and every year escape DWI/DUI arrests by invoking their congressional privilege of immunity (Article one, Section 6). The privilege was originally provided over 200 years ago to protect members of Congress from politically-motivated arrests made in an effort to prevent then from voting or otherwise performing their official duties.
The privilege of immunity serves no useful purpose today and is an affront to law-abiding citizens. There are many pressures that could be applied to discourage it outrageous misuse. For example, the use of the privilege by a senator or representative from a state could be used to lower that state’s score used by Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) in calculating the state's annual "grade." However, the problem is being completely ignored by everyone and the travesty continues.
Below are a list of your elected representatives (mostly federal, but I don't mind including state politicians either when they interact with the feds) who have or had criminal records on their Congressional rap sheet. Note the specific language: "Charged" means formal charges have / had been made, though the representative was not necessarily convicted. (I include charges only if said representative shows a pattern of behavior along those lines.) Convicted...well, you get the idea.
An asterisk at the end of a Congressfolk's record means that the charges came either before or after their terms...though often the "after" is the result of something(s) done while in the Capitol. Best of all, a name in boldface means that the representative is still a representative!
REP. MARIO BIAGGI (D-NY): In 1988 he was convicted of obstructing justice, tax evasion, conspiracy, extortion, and accepting bribes.
CORRINNE BROWN (D-FL): Failed to pay unemployment taxes to the state of Florida; sued by several airlines for unpaid bills and falsified travel reports; failed to report sale of her Tallahassee travel agency; improperly reported the sale of her Gainesville travel agency; sued by Whirlpool Corp. for unpaid bills; pursued by the IRS for $14,228 in unpaid taxes; investigations by the House Ethics Committee for possible acceptance of bribes; refused to file reports in the House about potential conflicts of interest while overseeing airlines she dealt with through her travel agencies; charged with money laundering.
REP. ALBERT BUSTAMANTE (D-TX): Convicted in 1993 of racketeering and accepting an illegal gratuity.
TONY COELHO (D-CA): Currently under investigation for fraud while serving as U.S. Commissioner General of Expo '98 in Lisbon, Portugal.* He was Al Gore's primary presidential campaign manager until he resigned citing health reasons.
REP. WES COOLEY (R-OR): Convicted of falsifying VA loan applications. Paid $7,000 in fines plus court costs, and placed on probation. Subsequently tried to gather support to get re-elected to Congress.*
REP. JERRY COSTELLO (D-IL):
REP. BOB DORNAN (R-CA): In 1983 attempted to leave Grenada with a stolen AK-47. It was confiscated by the Army and destroyed.
REP. WALTER FAUNTROY (D-DC): Financial disclosure misdemeanor (1995).
REP. BARNEY FRANK (D-MA): Accessory to a male prostitute who ran a whorehouse in their Washington townhouse.
REP. NEWT GINGRICH (R-GA):
STATE REP. ALCEE L. HASTINGS (D-FL): From the 1998 Almanac of American Politics: "He was impeached by the House of Representatives by a vote of 426-3 in 1988 and convicted and removed from office by the Senate by a vote of 69-26. The impeachment arose from allegations that Hastings conspired with a friend to accept $150,000 for giving two convicted swindlers a break in sentencing. Hastings was acquitted in a criminal trial in 1983, but the friend was convicted. In the House, the case for impeachment was made by John Conyers, senior member of the Congressional Black Caucus. Removed from the bench, Hastings was unapologetic."
SEN. JESSE HELMS (R-NC): In 1990, the Helms campaign sent out 125,000 postcards primarily to black North Carolina voters claiming that they might not be able to vote, and would be prosecuted for vote fraud if they tried. His campaign, the North Carolina Republican party, and four consulting and marketing firms were charged with violations of the Voting Rights Act. The Helms campaign signed an admission of guilt (claiming later that they didn't have the money to fight it in court), but Helms and his staff were never prosecuted.
REP. CARROL HUBBARD (D-KY): Convicted in 1994 of misappropriation of funds.
JAY KIM (R-CA): Convicted of accepting illegal campaign contributions from foreign sources.
REP. GERALD KLECZKA (D-WI): Convicted of DUI in 1987; arrested for DUI in 1990 and 1995.
REP. JOE KOLTER (D-PA): Fraud and conspiracy (1996).
REP. NORMAN LENT (R-NY): In 1982 tried to have fifty counterfeit Rolex watches mailed to him from Taiwan.
REP. DONALD E. "BUZ" LUKENS (R-OH): In 1989 was convicted of contributing to the delinquency of a minor.
REP. NICK MAVROULES (D-MA): In 1991 pleaded guilty to charges of bribery and tax evasion.
REP. EDWARD MEZVINSKY (D-IA): Indicted in March of 2001 on federal fraud charges. Claimed that he developed mental problems after using a malaria drug called Lariam. "Clearly, the responsibility lies with the manufacturers," claimed Mezvinsky's lawyer, Michael Barrett.*
REP. JAMES MORAN (D-VA): Charged with spousal abuse, and assault and battery. A regular instigator of bar fights while mayor of Alexandria, VA, his position made him immune to arrest. Once said he thought about becoming a boxer because "I like to hit people."
REP. AUSTIN J. MURPHY (D-PA): Vote fraud, including forgery, conspiracy, and tampering with federal records (1999).*
REP. MARY ROSE OAKAR (D-OH): Charged with seven federal felonies related to financial-disclosure irregularities (1998).
SEN. BOB PACKWOOD (R-OR): Charged with sexual harassment. Oddly enough, many of the women named as harassees defended Senator Packwood.
REP. CARL PERKINS (D-KY): In 1994 pleaded guilty to filing a false financial-disclosure statement, conspiracy to file false statements with the Federal Election Commission, and bank fraud. Sentenced in March of 1995.
REP. MEL REYNOLDS (D-IL): In 1995 was convicted of having sex with a minor and obstructing justice.
CHARLIE ROSE (D-NC): Financial disclosure irregularities (1994).
REP. DAN ROSTENKOWSKI (D-IL): Illegally converted official funds to his personal use and mail fraud; accused in 1996 of embezzling $700,000 from the federal government, he was charged with 13 of the original 17 counts against him. Went to prison after serving in Congress; now back in Washington working as a lobbyist.
REP. LARRY SMITH (D-FL): In 1993 was convicted of income tax evasion and campaign-reporting violations.
REP. PAT SWINDALL (R-GA): In 1988 was convicted of perjury.
REP. JIM TRAFICANT (D-OH): Indicted on 5/4/01 by a Cleveland, OH federal grand jury for bribery, tax evasion, racketeering, conspiracy, and obstruction of justice. Found guilty of all charges in April 2002.
REP. WALTER TUCKER (D-CA): Federal extortion charges; convicted of accepting $30,000 worth of bribes while a Congressman, and sentenced to 27 months in the federal penitentiary.
REP. J.C. WATTS (R-OK):
CHARLES WILSON (D-TX): In 1995 was forced to pay a $90,000 fine to the Federal Election Commission.
Number of members of Congress who escaped tickets and/or arrest from a variety of driving offenses ranging from speeding to DUI in 1999 due to Congressional immunity: 217
Number of members of Congress who were released after being pulled over for drunken driving in 1998 by claiming Congressional immunity: 84
*29 have been accused of spousal abuse
*7 have been arrested for fraud
*19 have been accused of writing bad checks
*117 have directly or indirectly bankrupted at leased 2 businesses
*3 have done time for assault
*71 cannot get a credit card due to bad credit
*14 have been arrested on drug-related charges
*8 have been arrested for shoplifting
*21 are currently defendants in lawsuits
*84 have been arrested for drunk driving in the last year
Can you guess which organization this is?
Give up yet? (scroll down)
It's the 535 members of the United States Congress.
The same group of Idiots that crank out hundreds of new laws each year designed to keep the rest of us in line.