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GOP To Award Medal of Distinction to Druggie

If it's not one thing, it's another for the beleaguered National Republican Congressional Committee.

Three bruising special election losses to Democrats in traditional GOP strongholds ... A Republican congressman caught with a DWI, a mistress and love child ... Deceived by its own treasurer, who's under federal investigation for possible embezzlement and bank fraud ... Severely cash strapped... .

And now?

Now, of all the thousands of local Republican politicians out there, the NRCC has chosen a drug offender to receive a Republican Congressional Medal of Distinction at the committee's annual President's Dinner fundraising gala slated for June 18.

The recipient in question is former Springboro, Ohio, city councilman Michael Hemmert, 53, who is undergoing drug treatment in lieu of conviction for cocaine and marijuana charges. As the Dayton Daily News reports, a county judge ordered Hemmert to "abstain from alcohol and drugs, submit to random drug tests and follow other restrictions while on probation for three years."

The newspaper quotes an administrator of the Warren County Common Pleas Court as saying the NRCC's Medal of Distinction winner "shouldn't have any problems traveling" to Washington to attend the dinner, as long as he notifies his probation officer before leaving.

Hemmert resigned his council seat on Feb. 14 after police "seized cocaine, marijuana and two cars" from his home during the first of two searches, according to the Daily News.

A GOP source tells The Sleuth that the NRCC was not aware of Hemmert's drug background when it made the decision to honor him. For now, though, it sounds like the plan is still to present him with the medal at this month's big dinner.

"There are a number of people in each state who receive this award for their continued support for the Republican Party and the NRCC," committee spokeswoman Julie Shutley tells us.

UPDATE: The Sleuth followed up with e-mails and a phone call directly asking whether Emmert will still be honored now that the drug bust is public knowledge. A source says as far as NRCC officials are aware, Emmert will be attending the dinner though there will be no formal awards ceremony at the gala.

Hemmert isn't even that big of a donor. Federal election records show he gave a one-time donation of $2,500 to the NRCC over the last three election cycles.

The NRCC's Democratic counterpart, of course, is laughing harder than anyone. "Standards at the NRCC have been flushed down the toilet," says Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee spokesman Doug Thornell, adding, "Then again, they don't have much to work with."

By Mary Ann Akers  |  June 5, 2008; 4:18 PM ET
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"shouldn't have any problems traveling" to Washington to attend the dinner, as long as he notifies his probation officer before leaving."

Sweeeeet, this the best repub they can award this medal to?

Posted by: Anonymous | June 5, 2008 6:34 PM | Report abuse

Read the headline and I thought the GOP was giving a "high five" to Obama.

Posted by: ZarDotZ | June 5, 2008 8:01 PM | Report abuse

Lets face it guys, if George W can get into Washington with his previous history of dependence then why not this poor bloke?. Almost appears to be a requirement for a republican these day's!!.

Posted by: Sean Stewart | June 5, 2008 8:08 PM | Report abuse

I don't see any problem with this fine man getting this award.

Posted by: Rush Limbaugh | June 5, 2008 11:15 PM | Report abuse

Good Think has was with the GOP and white or he would be serving time for crack.

Posted by: black ex-con | June 5, 2008 11:20 PM | Report abuse will stop any censorship in comments and in journalism.
people should be able to say anything they want.
this is new era of WEBFluence and it's very dangerous to filter comments.

comment it happen !

Posted by: talktail | June 6, 2008 7:59 AM | Report abuse

The Democratic Party spokesman better not laugh too hard as it does not take a huge amount of research to find the same offenses on his side of the aisle.

If they want to laugh really hard, check out Ms Feinsteins neat little trick of steering billions in federal contracts to her husband's firm, thereby enriching herself far more than Duke Cunningham did in his bribery scandal.

The press is normally willing to ignore what the liberal side does to focus on the conservatives, but never forget that the press is really just a windvane, and the winds can change in a heartbeat.

Such a change would probably reveal as many if not more scandals on the left as they are currently revealing on the right, if we can correctly call the current stable of Republicans true conservatives. Somehow I doubt that, as listening to the tapes of Robert Kennedy sound more conservative than any of the Republicans currently are!

Posted by: Wayne | June 6, 2008 10:47 AM | Report abuse

The reason why the consertives get more press for their boo-boos is because they run on the Holier Than Thou ticket.

Posted by: pat | June 6, 2008 11:15 AM | Report abuse

Did he and Does he do his job well? Did his drug use interfere with his job or was he using the drug on his own time and work has not suffered? Isn't the Worst Drug of Choice and the one/s that causes more death than all others Combined "the Liquor?" AND "the Liquor" is Legal and Endorsed by Almost All.

Posted by: SOCIETY1 | June 6, 2008 12:29 PM | Report abuse

Of course he's getting an award - everyday in the Republican universe is Opposite Day.

Incompetence is competence.

War is peace.

Lies are Truth.

Heckuva job, GOP!

Posted by: FC | June 6, 2008 12:48 PM | Report abuse

Shouldn't have any problems traveling to DC, as long as he clears it with his Probation Officer.

It's almost poetic.

The 2008 GOP in a nutshell.....

Posted by: LivingTheDream | June 6, 2008 12:54 PM | Report abuse

Well glad to see that incompetency is now well ensconced and institutionalized at the Republican Party headquarters. Wow! No wonder we are in trouble. Perhaps it is time that the Republican Party dissolves and someone can come along and resurrect the Grand Old Party (hey, maybe that guy was just the one to do it, have a party folks).

Society1: While alcohol abuse is indeed an important issue, it has been primarily the Republicans who have pushed for strict laws and punishment of illegal drugs and have fought for keeping marijuana illegal. This guy was not caught for a DUI, he was caught with BOTH pot and cocaine! Your defense: "Did he and Does he do his job well? Did his drug use interfere with his job or was he using the drug on his own time and work has not suffered?" Would be laughed at by Republicans and the Neo-Cons running the party (but I guess only if the defendant were poor and non-white). That defense would never be allowed under current law. You can't have it both ways, being for and against these particular illegal drugs. He broke the law and as a God-fearing Republican you should applaud his punishment and not defend the guy.

Posted by: RedRat | June 6, 2008 1:18 PM | Report abuse

i read the headline and that you were talking about rush limbaugh.

Posted by: jeff | June 6, 2008 2:44 PM | Report abuse

Very good comment on the current law. It makes real good sense. What exactly did this person do to or not do to catch someone's eye as to, probably all of a sudden, have become the target of law enforcement?
Also, please do not use the word "GOD." Do not use the word in vain. God does not want people to use the word to pursue one's goal citing that's what God wants. A human being's goal can and never will be same as God's.

Posted by: SOCIETY1 | June 6, 2008 4:04 PM | Report abuse

Medals for drug abusers. When does Rush get his?

Posted by: Al | June 6, 2008 4:36 PM | Report abuse

Let's see - didn't Bremer get a medal - and Tenet - and those were from Bush. Guess you just have to be loyal - not do anything intelligent, trustworthy, lawful or beneficial to get a medal from the GOP and its leader.

Posted by: Utahreb | June 6, 2008 9:05 PM | Report abuse

The GOP leads the way in theft, drugs, hypocrisy, toe tapping in the mens room, cheating the Veterans whenever possible and all the Good Ole Family Values!!! Maybe we can print the Constitution on rolls of TP for them to wipe with.

Posted by: Ben Matheny | June 7, 2008 9:06 PM | Report abuse

Another member of the GOP 21st Century Hall of Infamy. Its not the drug thing that bothers me, we all make mistakes, but that the NRCC can be so detached from reality. Well, consistency can be a virtue. Too bad the GOP is consistently 180 degrees from logic and reality. But hey, they won't care as long as they win for themselves.

Posted by: IndianaJerry | June 9, 2008 10:51 AM | Report abuse

Mary Ann ...

Are you the sleuth or the sloth of political commentary ?

Posted by: dean | June 9, 2008 12:31 PM | Report abuse

Remember when Repubs ran on "Character Counts"?

Posted by: relibris | June 9, 2008 6:26 PM | Report abuse


This from a Republican:"Also, please do not use the word "GOD." Do not use the word in vain. God does not want people to use the word to pursue one's goal citing that's what God wants. A human being's goal can and never will be same as God's."

Everyone, please join me while I LMAO.

Posted by: DBZ | June 9, 2008 7:28 PM | Report abuse

Breaking News: Republicans switching parties by a landslide seeking $90,000 in their freezers.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 10, 2008 8:01 PM | Report abuse

please do not use the word "GOD"?

You did.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 17, 2008 10:04 AM | Report abuse

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