So Maui County Councilman Dain Kane went and got busted for driving under the influence. And
on Kauai, of all places. “It was a personal thing,” the father of the county’s anti-smoking ordinance said in The Maui News on Nov. 24, 2005. “I was spending some time with family and friends. It’s unfortunate. I regret that it happened and I will take full responsibility for my actions.”
In the world of public officials, Kane is now a member of a pretty exclusive club: guys who drink and drive while holding the public’s trust. And while I’d love to include President George W. Bush and Vice Dick Cheney on the list, both earned their respective DUIs—one for Dubya and two for Vice—long before either got into politics.
In December 2003 Maui County Managing Director Jack Kulp got a DUI at a Maui Police checkpoint. Originally planning to fight the constitutionality of the checkpoint, saying it excluded mopeds and cyclists, he ended up pleading guilty. He was sentenced to 240 hours community service and $500 fine, but by then he’d already resigned from Mayor Alan Arakawa’s administration.
South Maui Councilman Wayne Nishiki racked up two DUIs during his many terms of office. He pleaded no contest to his first in 1998, and ended up getting a $332 fine and 14 hours of alcohol abuse counseling. Four years later he was at it again. But this time he pleaded guilty and lost his license for a year. Neither conviction hurt his reelection campaigns.
This 10-term Democratic state representative from Pennsylvania got popped for DUI in the spring of 2004. It was an especially inopportune moment: not only was he in the middle of a reelection campaign, but he’d also just finished toughening the state’s drunk driving laws. Even so, Levdansky ended up avoiding jail and winning reelection.
This crafty Republican state representative from Macon, Georgia tried a novel approach to his February 2005 DUI arrest (at the time, he also had a pending DUI arrest from March 2004). Graves—who chaired the state House committee overseeing the local liquor industry—tried to say that since his arrest came during the state House’s 2005 session, he had “legislative immunity” from prosecution. Judge Irma B. Glover didn’t buy it, and found him guilty. He won’t lose his House seat, but he will have to spend 10 days in jail, pay a $1,600 fine, do 20 days of home confinement, perform 240 hours of community service and lose his driver’s license for up to 18 months.
Brady, a five-term Republican congressman from Southeast Texas, got arrested on Oct. 7 of this year for DUI in South Dakota. He pled no contest. Since it was his first arrest, he ended up getting just a $350 fine, $53 in court fees and a prohibition from driving in South Dakota for 30 days (some wouldn’t exactly call that last sentence “punishment,” but the legal system often works in strange ways). His fellow Texas Republicans consider Brady’s chances for reelection next year good. MTW