State Senator John McGee arrested for Grand Theft, DUI

Crossposted on Daily Kos


Former Prosecutor John Bujak is not the only one making scandalous legal waves in Canyon County -- the kind you can't cover up.


ADA COUNTY -- According to the Ada County Sheriff's Department, Idaho State Senator John McGee was arrested and booked into the Ada County jail at 4:27 a.m. Sunday. McGee is charged with grand theft and driving under the influence.

Mcgee Mug Shot

According to Sgt. Carlos De Leon with the Ada County Sheriff, McGee began drinking at a Boise golf course at about 10 p.m. Saturday. McGee left the clubhouse just before 3 a.m. and came upon a Ford Excursion with the keys inside and a 20-foot travel trailer attached in the area near the Muir Woods Subdivision in southwest Boise. McGee drove off in the vehicle, which had the keys inside.

McGee tried to turn the vehicle and trailer around in a long driveway in the subdivision near Overland and Victory roads and Five Mile Road. The Excursion and travel trailer ended up jack-knifed in the driveway. Two kids in the home where McGee was attempting to turn the vehicle around watched him get out of the vehicle, walk up and down the street a few times, then get into the back of the Excursion and go to sleep.

Like most people who get DUIs, this probably isn't a first for such behavior. But Idaho's Republican Good Ol Boy network rubs elbows, giggles, and slaps each other on the back ...

They give a wink and problems go away.

But this adds insult to injury, McGee attempted to be a champion for legislation against dangerous drivers.

From the February 16, 2011 Idaho Press Tribune:

Caldwell Sen. John McGee says texting while driving is as dangerous as driving while drunk. ... He’s right.

Police officers can already charge someone with inattentive driving if they see erratic behavior on the road. But McGee has introduced a bill in the Legislature that would clarify to law enforcement that texting while driving simply is inattentive driving.

It might not seem like much of a difference, but McGee’s addendum would make it easier for police to write a ticket without having to wait until it’s too late. If the bill becomes law, an officer could write a ticket the minute he sees someone texting at the wheel. He wouldn’t have to wait until he sees the driver swerving all over the road.


Let's see if the Republican leadership can turn a blind eye to this one.

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Not a great Father's Day

"A former aide to Gov. Kempthorne, McGee is frequently mentioned as candidate for higher office, including governor. He considered run for 1st Congressional District in 2010, but took a pass, saying he was focused on raising his young family. He is also the chairman of the Canyon County GOP."

Read more:

hmm, an hour after closing time?

Been a lot of years since I was in a bar at closing time, but it was never 3am. Wikipedia tells me Idaho's is currently 2am. So more than 2 hours after he could have been legally served a drink, he's still at 0.15% BAC? Yow.

Somebody at the bar took his keys, maybe? Should've worked, really.

If only some dipweed hadn't left the keys in his $40k+ SUV with the travel trailer, we wouldn't be having this conversation.

Edit: a later news story made it sound like he probably left at or around closing time, 2am, so "never mind."

"In a sense, we're all on our way to Jackpot, aren't we?"

He's listed as still in custody

Courtesy of an Idaho Reporter Tweet six hours ago:

Here's a screenshot of Sen. John McGee's charges, mugshot:

The Huffington Post

picked up my Daily Kos story about this and put it on their "Around the Web" list, along with versions from TV station and newspaper sites.

Blogs truly have power.

What power is that?

"Blogs truly have power."

What power do blogs have?

Blogs allow private citizens to affect what shows up in Google searches regarding a topic.

40% of young people get their information from the internet. 20% of news consumers get their information via mobile uploads. Net use is growing in all categories.

Blogs level the playing field and allow voices outside of major corporations to affect the dialogue.

My Daily Kos blog on this topic currently has 72 comments and 127 tips. Not bad readership for a dude who spent his afternoon at the laundramat, posting in between folding towels. The only cost was wear-and tear on my laptop (not even electricity).

Daily Kos is home to 250,000 active bloggers.

Blogs also allow me the ability to quote, update, revise, and edit virtually at will.

And if that isn't enough, blogs also give the average citizen writer the ability to potentially break a huge story. In Pocatello, we lived next store to a woman who was having an affair with a Vice President of one of the largest organizations in the Intermountain West.

She told me first. There were domestic violence issues. I encouraged her to file police reports. It was then public information. The rest is obvious ....

With a blog, I can write a follow-up to that story any time I want. I don't have to worry about an editor thinking that this doesn't fit their corporate model, or doesn't work for their advertisers.

You should ask that former V.P. if he thinks bloggers have any power.

CNN and other networks

regularly have segments where they quote from citizen bloggers.

Even the British Press

Hot dog

The only thing missing for full-on popularity in this story is something salacious, yes? But the fact that there is a strong market for Schadenfreude the whole world over does not mean that giving further publicity to Senator McGee's sorry affair is an expression of "power."

I'm just sayin.

The British Press Comment

Is separate from my answers to your question regarding the power of blogs. That was just an interesting fact.

The U.K.

probably would have picked up that story (regardless of blogs) anyway since major news outlets covered it.

Why do you blog?

What motivates you to participate, fortboise?

Do you really want to know?

I sense a certain defensiveness and poise for counterattack.

Why do I blog? Because I love to think, and write, and persuade, and entertain, and make a record of things I think are worthy, and make the world-wide web more useful through thoughtful linking.

And because it's a habit, 5 or 10 years after the unwashed masses flooded my once discernible (if barely detectible) power of influence.

But I think you actually want to know why I "participate" in a way that did not enthusiastically endorse your "power" to help a news story get more attention than it probably deserves. That's just a matter of sympathy for another human being who is in the midst of a personal catastrophe.

I'm not immune to Schadenfreude by any means, but it seems better to me at the moment not to amplify it. (Even though I'm sure it would be easy to find examples of my having done so in the past. Mea culpa.)


put it best:

You are very kind

Thanks for your explanation fortboise.

You wrote: "But I think you actually want to know why I "participate" in a way that did not enthusiastically endorse your "power" to help a news story get more attention than it probably deserves. That's just a matter of sympathy for another human being who is in the midst of a personal catastrophe."

Nonetheless, I agree with Sisyphus:

Senator McGee must answer to the people of Idaho in the court of public opinion, a location Senator McGee voluntarily placed himself in ascending the ladder of a promising and ambitious political career. Traditional media plays a crucial role in the latter venue and while the venues overlap, the trad med shouldn't simply wait until Senator McGee chooses the time and place for providing an orchestrated defense.

The public has a right and responsibility to know details about serious decisions and behavior from the public officals who make policy decisions affecting our lives.

When one is a representative of the state of Idaho, and a leader, the "personal catastrophe" card, while valid, moves to the bottom of the deck -- particularly when said behavior violates laws/boundaries and property of citizens, and blemishes the state's reputation.

I have sympathy for the McGee family. At the same time, I am aware that wealthy country club folks have great access to health care, legal resources, counseling, career contacts, sabbaticals, and ALL levels of support. It is an interesting contrast to the reported state of most Idahoans these days -- a dynamic that also makes this story worth more written analysis.

Yes to all that

In the bigger picture, I'm thinking Sis' good work shows us the power of blogs -- to keep pushing after the media lose interest, or decide the public's heard enough.

Full disclosure time, Sen. McGee

From the Idaho Press Tribune:

... voters have to elect him. And in order for them to make an informed choice at the ballot box, they need to know if he’ll be prone to lapses in judgment that would lead him to get hammered, steal and crash cars, or whether a serious blow to the head literally rendered him out of his mind. When you become a public official, you forfeit some of your right to privacy. That’s just how it works.

The John McGee we know would step up to the plate, fill in the gaps and tell the whole story. Did he black out and not remember any of it? Then he should say so. He wants a clean slate? This is how he earns it.

Idahoans elected Butch Otter after his 1993 DUI conviction, so they could certainly forgive McGee, too. But secrecy and vagueness don’t sit well with the public. McGee should be familiar with the term “full disclosure.” Now is the time for it.