imkittymyers at hotmail dot com
Friday, May 05, 2006
ARE THEY REALLY ABOVE THE LAW?
Twice now today I've heard on the news that congressmen and senators can not be arrested for traffic violations while enroute to a vote. No wonder Patrick Kennedy said he was on his way to vote -- at 2:45 in the morning.
I wanted to verify this, so I did a search. I have yet to find confirmation, but I did come across this piece.
All men are created equal, unless they are Congressmen
"Do as I say, not as I do," was probably first uttered by a member of Congress. The same people who restrict our freedoms and put us in danger of arrest for drinking alcohol are pretty much immune from the laws that they pass:
The following excerpt was researched and written by the staff
of Capitol Hill Blue.
In the 1998 Congressional session, 84 Representatives and Senators were stopped for drunken driving and released after they claimed Congressional immunity. It should be noted, however, that there is a big difference between being stopped for "suspicion" of DUI and actually being charged with the offense. More than one police officer, however, told Capitol Hill Blue they are not allowed to charge members of Congress.
"I've stopped Senators who were so drunk they couldn't remember their own name," says one Fairfax County police officer. "And I was ordered to let them drive home."
During late-night Congressional sessions, Representatives and Senators often spend time between votes in the private Republican and Democratic clubs or any of a dozen other Capitol Hill watering holes. One Capitol Hill police officer says he has had to jump out of the way more than once to avoid being run down by a drunken member of Congress roaring out of a House office garage.
"But there's not a damn thing I can do about it," he says, "Not if I want to keep my job."
Sgt. Joe Gentile of the D.C. police admits city police do not issue traffic tickets to senators and representatives while Congress is in session. Alexandria and Montgomery County claim members of Congress receive no special treatment for traffic violations, but records show 47 members were released without tickets last year. Arlington and Prince George's county refuse to reveal their policies, but records show members are routinely released without charge in both counties.
Members of Congress feel no compulsion to obey the law. District of Columbia police issued 2,912 parking tickets to cars owned by members of Congress in 1998. None were paid. The financially strapped District, which actively pursues and "boots" cars belonging to ordinary citizens, does not go after members of Congress.
NOTE: The referenced Capitol Hill Blue article is no longer available. The article is dated 08/21/1999, and their archives date back only to 2000.
Can anyone verify the claims in the article?