Strauss Due in Court on Drunk Driving Charge
D.C. Shadow Senator Paul Strauss is due in court today for a preliminary hearing on drunk driving charges.
Strauss, who was arrested on drunk driving charges on Oct. 1, said he has no intentions of giving up his seat, despite new calls by the D.C. Republican Party that he step down.
"The voters of the District of Columbia have just reelected me with the highest margin that I have ever received and I am looking forward to getting the District voters that we all deserved in this historical time for our nation," Strauss told the Wire on Friday. "I can't comment on the case because it is an on-going legal matter, but I thank all of the residents of the District for supporting me during the election."
Strauss received 167,750 votes for the unpaid, powerless seat, defeating three opponents.
Republican challenger Nelson Rimensnyder received 8 percent of the vote, but even before the race he and members of the D.C. Republican Committee were calling for
Strauss to step down after D.C. auditor Deborah Nichols issued a report charging that Strauss, as chairman of the D.C. Board of Real Property Assessments and Appeals, accepted campaign donations from people in the real estate community.
In September, the auditor said Strauss "failed to effectively manage and improve BRPAA's operations, performance and stature." The report also criticized him for accepting campaign donations from real estate interests.
The local GOP cited the auditor's concern that Strauss accepted six $500 checks from several real estate companies and lawyers during his 2006 run for the Ward 3 council seat. It also noted that he has raised more than $100,000 in his campaigns.
The GOP has leveled new charges regarding the drunk driving case, claiming that Strauss flashed a Senate ID badge to the District police when he was stopped.
Strauss "is bringing more recognition to his Shadow Senate position by his drunk driving arrest and the DC Auditor report than his work on the Hill,"Paul Craney, executive director of the DC Republican Committee, said in a statement.
Hamil R. Harris
November 17, 2008; 9:30 AM ET
Categories: Voting Rights
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