Defending the family

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Kennedy Pleads Guilty to DUI; Public Advocate Calls for Ethics Probe

Public Advocate President Eugene Delgaudio released the following statement upon learning of Rep. Patrick Kennedy's guilty plea to driving under the influence of prescription drugs.

"Yet again a Kennedy is getting off easy. Congressman Kennedy was reckless and a danger to the public when he crashed his car under the influence of, at least, drugs.

"He committed the crime, and was investigated by the police. But instead of being given a sobriety test, as would have happened to any non-Kennedy citizen, he was ultimately driven home by ranking officials of the U.S. Capitol Police.

"In response, Public Advocate and outraged Citizens formed the Kennedy Sobriety Checkpoint and Kennedy was shuffled off to a rehabilitation facility to avoid public scrutiny.

"Yet there has never been any announcement that Kennedy would be charged, and his lawyers were able to quietly sweep the matter under the rug by agreeing that he would plead guilty and receive a slap on the wrist. Kennedy will have to pay $350 in fees, a minuscule amount for a member of the Kennedy dynasty.

"Meanwhile, the media and the local and federal government brush off one of the only life-threatening crime on Capitol Hill -- "impaired driving."

"While we are glad that this Kennedy is at least receiving a slap on the wrist, there were some things missing in the "investigation" of Kennedy. Most frightening is the continued disrespect that certain members of congress having been showing to the Capitol Police. They seem to see these excellent law enforcement officers-who put their lives on the line every day for members of Congress-as their own personal servants who they can abuse and misuse.

"Furthermore, he was given the quintessential Kennedy treatment, which fails to protect the public from reckless famous officials. The DC prosecutor should have made an example of the Congressman by turning down plea deals and using this as an opportunity to show that driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol is never permissible, no matter how famous you may be. There should be no special treatment of "special" people.

"We know the truth has not come out and that misrepresentations have been thrust on the public without challenge from the main stream media.

"For these reasons and others, Public Advocate is preparing ethics charges to be filed against Mr. Kennedy with the House Ethics committee, if we can find a single Congressman who will join us to seek an investigation as to whether:

• Influence was used to avoid any normal investigation.

• Influence was used to avoid being charged with serious crimes.

• Influence was used to corrupt the entire process from beginning to end.

"Washington, DC is not Massachusetts and this effort to treat the U.S. Capitol Police like the Chapaquidick constabulary must not stand.

"Public Advocate will not rest until all Kennedy's are shown that they are not above the law, simply because of their last name.