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With all the goings-on in airport terminals this August recess, HOH was reminded that airports have been the scene of many a Congressional scandal.
The long lines and long waits add up to short tempers and some low, low moments, reminding us that not all nuts come in little foil bags.
Boston University psychologist Tom Cottle says it’s no surprise that Members of Congress are on their worst behavior when flying today’s none-too-friendly skies. Air travel brings out the worst in people, he says, because of the stress and anxiety that comes with being ordered around by airport security: Take off your shoes. Stand here. Wait here.
“The powerful people of the world have the hardest time with it, because they don’t like to relinquish power,” Cottle says. “So there’s some acting out.”
For your back-to-session edification, HOH brings you this retrospective of some previously reported incidents involving Members who, no matter what their tickets said, were hardly traveling first-class:
Passenger: Sen. Larry Craig (R-Idaho)
Airport: Minneapolis-St. Paul International
Incident: Craig was arrested by airport cops in June for allegedly seeking lewd acts in a men’s bathroom, and he pleaded guilty Aug. 8 to disorderly conduct. The action in the bathroom stall stalled his career: Though Craig has since said he regrets making the guilty plea and says he did nothing wrong, Republicans quickly called for him to
Passenger: Rep. Bob Filner (D-Calif.)
Airport: Dulles International
Incident: A Loudoun County judge smacked Filner with an assault-and-battery charge after the Congressman allegedly pushed an airline worker and entered an employee-only area while waiting for his luggage on Aug. 19. His take: It’s all a misunderstanding. He’s awaiting an Oct. 2 court date.
Passenger: Former Rep. John Hostettler (R-Ind.)
Airport: Louisville International
Incident: Hostettler was packing heat — a semiautomatic pistol, to be precise — when he tried to go through a screening checkpoint in April 2004, earning him a citation (and not the good kind). Hostettler, who has a conceal-and-carry permit in Indiana, said he was carrying the gun for protection while traveling in his district and forgot to remove the gun. He pleaded guilty to carrying a deadly concealed weapon and agreed to a plea-bargained sentence of 60 days in jail, with jail time conditionally discharged if he stayed on the right side of the law for the next two years. On Oct. 4, 2004, a Kentucky judge issued a bench warrant for his arrest after Hostettler failed to pay court costs. It was recalled after his attorney coughed up $122.50.