It’s been a tough year already for the National Republican Congressional Committee, which is charged with getting Republicans elected to the House: embezzlement by its treasurer, crushing losses in usually reliable GOP districts, an inability to find quality candidates. It’s so bad House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) had to put NRCC Chairman Tom Cole (R-OK) on a very short leash.
Apparently not short enough.
Coles’s NRCC will be honoring Springboro, Ohio, City Councilman Michael W. Hemmert later this month with a “Republican Congressional Medal of Distinction,” an award he will accept in a two-day celebration culminating in a dinner with President George W. Bush, despite two sets of drug charges (cocaine and marijuana) for which he’s currently receiving treatment in lieu of conviction.
From Dayton Daily News:
On May 27, Hemmert, 53, of Springboro, was granted treatment in lieu of conviction on two sets of charges of possession of cocaine and marijuana and a single count of possession of drug paraphernalia during a hearing in Warren County Common Pleas Court . . .
. . . He resigned his council seat Feb. 14 after the Greater Warren County Drug Task Force seized cocaine, marijuana and two cars during the first of two searches of his home. Hemmert was arrested after a second search on March 13 netted more cocaine and marijuana, and a special prosecutor was appointed. Warren County Prosecutor Rachel Hutzel acknowledged Hemmert had helped her raise campaign funds.
If cocaine use doesn’t stop the GOP, some silly little thing like probation isn’t going to stop Hemmert from receiving his award:
Provided Hemmert notifies his probation officer before leaving, “he shouldn’t have any problem traveling,” Scott McVey, administrator of the Warren County Common Pleas Court, said on Tuesday, June 3.
It should be pointed out that these NRCC “awards” are usually part of a fund-raising scheme: give us some money and we’ll give you an award. It’s not clear whether that’s the case with Hemmert’s award, but it isn’t his first dinner with President Bush:
“I will be attending my second President’s Dinner on Wed., June 18, 2008. This is considered the ‘Event in Washington, DC’ each year,” Hemmert said in an e-mail press release. . .
. . .Medal recipients also tour the Capitol and take a cruise on the Potomac River “aboard the luxury ship Odyssey III,” according to the itinerary. Two years ago, Hemmert said he got within 15 feet of President Bush.
As witty TPM Reader TC pointed out, maybe this “trip” will give Hemmert more than just a “contact high” with the President.