Steve Doell Covers For a Drunk Legislator

Kari Chisholm FacebookTwitterWebsite

According to the AP:

Oregon legislators and staff members should not be drunk while performing their official duties, a citizen panel says. ...

The new policy was suggested by Steve Doell, president of Crime Victims United, who said he and another member of the group noticed alcohol on the breath of at least one legislator at the end of the 2005 session while they were advocating tougher drunken-driving penalties.

Doell declined to identify the legislator.

It's not exactly like Steve Doell to be bashful about naming names. Even his opponents would agree that Doell is a hard-nosed advocate for the causes he believes in.

So, I gotta ask, why won't he identify the drunk legislator debating drunk-driving legislation?

  • BlueNote (unverified)

    I am struggling to find the "progressive" theme in this post.

  • no one in particular (unverified)

    Fear of a slander lawsuit?

  • Ben Dover (unverified)

    Yeah, I doubt Steve Doell wants to get hauled into court for something he cannot prove. Just take it at face value and appreciate the fact he has brought this practice to light.

  • Baloo (unverified)

    I am struggling to find the "progressive" theme in this post.

    The more notorious alcoholic politicians tend to be Republicans?

  • alcoholic (unverified)

    Yeah, Republicans are notorious alcoholics. Like Ted Kennedy for example.

  • BlueNote (unverified)

    I was a congressional page in my youth. I can assure you that drinking at lunch or dinner (or breakfast) is not limited to any political party, race, creed or religion.

  • (Show?)

    And "alcohol on the breath" does not mean being drunk. It could mean you had a glass of wine, beer, etc., but are not drunk.

    If the comment was that there was alcohol on the breath AND they were acting drunk, then there might be a reason to name names. But just because of alcohol on the breath?

  • (Show?)

    From a letter sent in February 1998 (pulled from Harper's) by Congressman Peter DeFazio to Representative Joe Barton (R., Tex.):

    Dear Joe: I read with interest your renewed push to subject Members of Congress and staff to random drug testing. As I understand your position, you believe that Congress should "provide an example" by subjecting its Members and staff to intrusive, mandatory drug tests (paid for with public dollars). I have noted that you do not allege that any illegal drug use is ongoing. I further understand that you and four other Members regularly take tests for drugs that you do not consume. Perhaps a more productive and cost-effective alternative is in order. I have observed personally the abuse of addictive substances on the floor of the House in violation of the House rules. I am referring to the frequent and obnoxious smoking of cigars and cigarettes. Imagine all those Members puffing away later this year as we consider the "tobacco settlement." This will certainly raise questions in the minds of the millions of Americans who view the proceedings on C-SPAN. Simple and inexpensive enforcement of the House rules could bring this practice to an abrupt halt. Also, Congress, especially in late-night sessions, sees the same occasional alcohol abuse that occurs in other workplaces across the country. If Congress were to effectively curtail this abuse, we would exceed the modest goal you have set with your purely symbolic testing program. Our electronic voting machines could be equipped with Breathalyzers. Before casting a vote (say after 8:00 P.M.) each member would have to breathe into the machine. Any Member whose blood-alcohol level exceeded .08 would be locked out. This would give Members a strong incentive to keep their legal drinking within the sobriety limits set by many states for driving. We could even adopt a motto: ZERO TOLERANCE FOR VWI (Voting While Intoxicated). Members would be recorded as "incapable of voting," which should provide a strong behavioral incentive for moderation of alcohol consumption and help restore public confidence in the voting behavior of the Congress. Sincerely, Peter DeFazio
  • BlueNote (unverified)

    Dems don't let Dems vote drunk!

    Bumper stickers available soon!

  • (Show?)

    BlueNote -- for starters, not everything here is strictly progressive/political. We've had posts about the TrailBlazers, the Microbrew festival, etc. You must be new 'round here - though it's hard to tell, what with the silly anonymity you hide behind.

    Second, Steve Doell is one of Oregon's more prominent right-wing activists. If you must find a lefty cause in the post, you can feel free to consider it a swipe against him.

    Of course, for all I know, it was a Democratic legislator. I don't have any idea.

  • Coastdemo (unverified)

    "So, I gotta ask, why won't he identify the drunk legislator debating drunk-driving legislation?"

    Because it was bullshit! They concocted a story to get their agenda in the paper. There is NO ONE on the planet more capable of pompous self aggrandizement and no one more calculating in manipulating the media than Mr. Doell. In my humble opinion.

  • (Show?)

    ...And there you have it.

  • Sid Leader (unverified)

    Isn't Mr. Doell the Lake Oswego father who buried his daughter after she was murdered for just being alive on a nice day? Murdered in cold blood by a sullen teenage boy who said he was having a "bad day."


    So, while I do not back his politics, I ask that y'all cut the guy a bit of slack. He did what no parent should ever have to do -- bury a child.

    BTW, I could easily name at least three heavy drinkers in the Legislature, anyone who has worked in Salem could, but that's their business, not mine.

    I'd much rather name the sleazeballs, tax cheats and adulterers in Portland's conservative MSM and blogosphere like...

  • (Show?)


    That was my thought as well when I saw the story.

  • cAPTAIN dANDY (unverified)

    [Off-topic comment deleted. -editor.]

  • KatSwing (unverified)

    According to the little Oregonian article yesterday, Sen. Avel Gordly isn't naming names either. Maybe it's a big bipartisan conspiracy.

  • (Show?)

    Senator Gordly isn't a Democrat. Or, more accurately, she keeps switching from Democrat to independent and back again. Here.

    State Sen. Avel Gordly of Portland says she is leaning toward dropping her Democratic Party ties, reclaiming the independent status she gave up to vote for Jesse Jackson in the 1984 presidential primary. ... She says she became so repulsed at one point last year that she switched her registration to independent status. She later re-registered as a Democrat so she wouldn't lose her voice in the Senate caucus meetings. Now that the Senate Democrats have closed their caucus meetings to the press, Gordly says she won't attend, which gives her one more reason to go independent again. February 19, 2006
  • (Show?)

    Isn't Mr. Doell the Lake Oswego father who buried his daughter after she was murdered for just being alive on a nice day? Murdered in cold blood by a sullen teenage boy who said he was having a "bad day."

    Sid -- yes, that's the same Steve Doell.

    That's why I'm surprised that he's letting this legislator skate.

  • captain dandy (unverified)

    This is some serious censorship, Kari. "Off comment--deleted"

    You only want the stuff that matches your beliefs on this website. We will follow up on this.

  • (Show?)

    Captain Dandy--

    No, it wasn't censorship. It's called being on topic. This posting is about legislators, drinking, and Steve Doell.

    As much as we may care about the item you'd posted, it's completely off topic for this posting. And that means it's likely to be removed. Just as my posting here may be removed, since it's about site policy and not the topic at hand.

  • LT (unverified)

    Awhile back there was a "victim's rights" ballot measure and as I recall there was a story about a woman who became confined to a wheelchair after a drunk driving accident who debated Doell over the measure. I think the issue was that she was by any reasonable definition a crime victim (having been disabled by a drunk driver) and didn't like Doell's group saying "crime victims believe" as if those like herself couldn't make their own decisions.

    Don't recall the details after all these years, but seem to recall they well nigh came to blows in a radio debate after he said something like "crime victims believe...", she said "I'm a crime victim, and I don't agree" and he got angry.

    Sid, do you remember that incident? It was at that point I quit "cutting him some slack". Because he sounded like Kevin Mannix claiming the definition of "tough on crime" was supporting Mannix measures. And as the granddaughter of a prosecutor, I believe prosecutors and others in the public safety arena have the right to read measures like that and make up their own minds, not let some politician tell them what they believe.

    Just as I have no use for "women believe...", "teachers believe..." etc.

  • (Show?)

    First, the frivolous:

    We will follow up on this.

    That's the way to encourage dialogue, Dandy--threats! Nice to see you keeping things on an intellectual plane.

    To the substance of the post and some of the subsequent comments: actually, I think it is progressive to call people on political slander. If you got the courage to call someone out, have the courage to actually call 'em out by name. The legislator deserves the right to refute charges; otherwise, this is nothing more than a unverifiable slur.

    I like to think 'progressive' is an ethos that has to do with the civic good, not just mindless tribal loyalty.

  • LMAO (unverified)


    This blog is ALL about mindless tribal loyalty.

    Sure, the B/O audience is willing to debate which FACTION of the tribe you belong to (ecotopian Greens, partisan Democrats, Libertarian potheads, anybody but Republicans, consensus seeking pragmatists, angry feminazis, etc), kind of like the Shia and the Sunni are willing to debate who burned who's Mosque or who killed who's brother-in-law, or who is pursuing the one TRUE PATH to righteousness.

    But don't even THINK about letting a few Christians/Conservatives/Republicans into the big tent: they have very dangerous thoughts and their IP's must be banned.

  • (Show?)

    Actually, there are plenty of Christians around here-- I happen to be one of them. And no, I don't go to one of those "liberal churches" (something I get asked a lot). I'm actually a Southern Baptist.

    We also have several Republicans who post on here quite regularly. The ones that stick around and aren't deleted are the ones who come on here and actually converse with us-- they don't just come in to bash.

    However, this blog is specifically for "progressive Oregonians to gather 'round the water cooler and share news, commentary, and gossip." It's as clear as can be. There are plenty of sites for conservatives to talk and bash progressives-- this isn't one of them.

  • daughter of Taft Republican (unverified)

    Christians believe "blessed are the peacemakers". Attack ads, snide remarks (talk about the "Democrat party" for instance, or trying to blame the actions/mistakes of Hastert's House majority and Frist's Sen. majority on Democrats) are not what most of us were raised to believe Jesus would approve of.

    Conservatives believe what Robt. Taft said "We must give up the idea we can legislate the answer to everything". They also believe in true fiscal sanity, not tax breaks while refusing to specify what will be cut to pay for the tax breaks (as opposed to generalities like "we must have spending discipline").

    I grew up in a religious home, the daughter of a Robert Taft Republican.

    Don't try to tell me that Minnis, Scott, Mannix, and the anti-tax crowd are "Christian conservatives" and those who disagree with them are not.

    And go back to LMAO, and explain to all of us why Richardson's N. Korea remark was something akin to the Sermon on the Mount.

    Seems to me he broke the Commandment against bearing false witness and violated at least a few of the Beatitudes.

    Calling oneself a "Christian" or a "conservative" due to one's ideology does not require the rest of us to define those terms in ways other than Scripture and the sayings of Robt. Taft and Barry Goldwater.

    Even Newt Gingrich is speaking out about some of the excesses in Congress.

    Are all those who think the reason for the 2 sessions of record length and record secrecy have a lot to do with Minnis (who many consider more interested in power than the traditional religion and conservativsm we grew up with) some sort of "awful liberals" because we think the current folks calling themselves by names like "conservative" are really closer to being smartalecks?

  • Harry (unverified)

    LT writes: "Just as I have no use for "women believe...", "teachers believe..." etc."

    Well, said LT! People who claim they know what others believe are just spouting off what (in their opinion) they think others should believe.

    daughter of Taft Republican writes (only four posts later!): "Christians believe "blessed ..." and also "Conservatives believe what..."


    Or was that intentional?
    Satire? Sarcasm? Sometimes it slips by me.

  • anon former staffer (unverified)

    It is no secret that both staffers and legislators have a drink in celebration of Sine Die (in bipartisan company no less). There is also the story of a beer truck getting stuck while delivering brews to the capitol. My understanding is that drinking at the capitol has diminished greatly over the years. I think the questions should be whether or not it is appropriate for alcohol to be consumed in the work place, especially by state employees and if it is appropriate, when. Clearly drinking before discussing alcohol related legislation (intended conversation or not) is viewed as inappropriate by some.

  • LT (unverified)

    Harry, perhaps it was poorly stated. Perhaps the intended message was that many who attend church regularly prefer to follow the words of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John over Falwell, Robertson, Dobson, et al.

  • caPtain dANdy (unverified)

    Drunk and/or drinking legislators are certainly no less effective than lazy Republican Lite legislators. They in turn are no less worthless than fat and lazy website editors who are afraid of or "bought" by said Republican Lite politicians. It's really a simple equation. Right LT?

  • Kerry (unverified)

    It is rather appalling that our legislators would "show up" with alcohol on their breath or drunk. These are the same folks who want to perform random drug tests on the workers in Oregon and who tried to define impairment as a loss of productivity. As many Union folks testified to - why not test when productivity suddenly increases - maybe they are on the employers and many legislators (both parties) only wanted to test when profits were at risk - not when there was "reasonable cause" to test.

    Sorry - I sort of got off on a rant there. The reality is that no one should show up for work having had a "couple" and legislators are the same and should be treated the same. A worker would be immediately fired if they showed up for work with alcohol on their breath - drunk or not - legislators should be exposed for such behavior and defeated at the next election.

    Some have chosen to take shots at Steve Doell for not revealing the "names" of those legislators. Others have accused him of being self righteous - well he is neither self righteous or pompous just driven for justice. Not revealing "names" shows good common sense restraint on his part and the part of Senator Gordly. Those legislators know who they are and are well cautioned about further unprofessional behavior.

    I have no comment on the whole "Christians" pro and con - what was up with that?????


  • (Show?)

    To me, coming in with alcohol on your breath is a lot different than coming in drunk.

    I can't tell you how many working lunches (at restaurants) I've seen where people have a glass of wine, beer, etc. These people then presumably go back to work. And for some of those, the scent of alcohol could show up on their breath.

    This type of situation isn't out of the ordinary by any means. People have a glass with lunch, there's a celebration during lunch for a co-worker, etc.

    I think the most important thing isn't whether or not the alcohol can be smelled. After all, if you ate your food and then finished up your glass, the smell could be heavier than someone who had three glasses before eating a lot of food. The important thing is-- are they coming into the capitol intoxicated?

  • Former Salem Staffer (unverified)

    I wouldn't be the least bit surprised to find out that he's referring to Derrick "mugs n jugs" Kitts. He was known to be a little sloshed quite often during the 03 session. And though he was much better behaved in 05 (I suppose an embarassing DUI arrest in Washington had something to do with it), he may have stepped out of line. What a schmuck. That guy's an embarassment to the legislature. I can't believe he thinks he has any business running for Congress against David Wu...who's also a schmuck and an embarassment. I'm sure glad I don't live in that district, as I would have to vote for Mickey Mouse...

  • JayCee (unverified)

    What a shock! Politicians drinking? Oh my goodness, the next thing we are going to learn is that they engage in "politics" in Salem also. Hey guess what? Members of Congress (both R's and D's) have been known to have a drink or two during late night sessions (as have members of the White House staff and last several guberntorial administrations in Oregon).

    If they want to marginalize themselves, I say leave it up to the presiding officers of the repective chambers and the voters in their districts to deal with them. After all, it's not like they are operating any heavy equipment or anything.

    In all seriousness, this problem is far less prevalent today than it was ten years ago (and certainly far less prevelant than it was for lawmakers of previous generations - some who even formulated very good policy initiatives despite their taste for the demon liquor).

  • (Show?)

    An open letter to all the people who think this is about legislators drinking...

    Listen up. This post was NOT about whether it's OK for legislators to drink or not.

    Rather, it's about a right-wing anti-crime activist who clearly believes that it's wrong, has first-hand knowledge about a legislator who was drinking, and is refusing to name that person.

    The question is NOT "is it OK for legislators to drink?" Instead, the question is: Who is Steve Doell protecting, and why?

  • LT (unverified)

    Thank you Kari.

    Doell has been telling others for years that he alone speaks for crime victims. And implying that only he and his friends are "tough on crime".

    As I understand it, bartenders can be held liable if they serve someone obviously drunk and that person then gets in a drunk driving accident.

    If the person Doell saw drunk got behind the wheel of a car, and Doell did nothing to prevent that, wouldn't he be liable if that person caused an accident by driving drunk?

    Or are the rules different for Doell than for others?

  • Another Salem Staffer (unverified)

    Alright you want the scoop here’s the scoop,

    Doell didn't see any Legislator drunk.

    While Doell lost his daughter he is still a vindictive, horrible, little, gutless, bully. That is a fact.

    What happened was there were home school kids walking around the capitol pushing for (not a drunk driving bill) but Jessica's Law. Some of the home school kids said they saw drunken legislators. I don't want to call home school kids stupid but they don't have any f***ing clue what the real world is like.

    That night he was in the hallway of the capitol in a rage talking to another man. As I walked by he kicked a trash can and said, “They are going to pay for this!” I had no idea what he was talking about until I saw him on the Bill O’Reily Show.

    Either way Doell and Price saw nothing, thus they can't name names. They only have hearsay and a vendetta.

    If you want the bi-partisan, bi-cameral list of the legislators that had drinks that night, feel free to e-mail me and I’ll get you that list (by the way it was over 90% of Oregon Legislators). If you want the list of drunken legislators, I'm sorry I'm not sure if I saw any because every single one of them had been up over 22 hours by the time session was done.

    So was it being drunk or sleep deprivation? I don't know and that little douche bag Doell doesn't either.

  • howard (unverified)

    "It's not exactly like Steve Doell to be bashful about naming names. Even his opponents would agree that Doell is a hard-nosed advocate for the causes he believes in.

    So, I gotta ask, why won't he identify the drunk legislator debating drunk-driving legislation?"

    There would have been be no point for a lobbyist to have disclosed under law in effect at that time. No competent lobbyist is going to make enemies where there is no prospect of achieving a purpose.

  • Sam (unverified)

    You want names:

    How about:

    Vicki Walker

    Derek Kitts

    Len Hannon

    Tony Corcoan

    and don't foget meth queen, Kelly Wirth

    There are too many people being hypocrites who are both Democrats and Republicans and maybe it's okay with you for legislators to be DRUNK when they're voting down tougher drunk driving legislation (not a blue/red issue) but it's not okay with most Oregonians. Read Friday's Corvallis Gazette Times. Methink they doth protest too much

  • nbm (unverified)

    Wouldn't it be sublime if more individuals had the strength of character to stand up for what they believe in? (regardless of political ideology) Oregonians are justified in expecting that legislators adhere to a code of ethics. Mr. Doell won't win any popularity contests for challenging that code, but he has stimulated awareness among the people of Oregon.

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