A GOP state senator was caught on camera whining about possibly losing his job after he was arrested on drunken driving charges over the weekend, authorities say.
According to the Post and Courier, South Carolina state Sen. Paul Campbell repeatedly insisted that he had not been driving when his car rear-ended another on Interstate 26.
“This may cost me my job. You know that, I guess,” Campbell could be heard complaining to the officer as he was cuffed. “But that’s OK. Whatever it takes.”
Campbell could also be heard telling the officer that, in addition to being a state senator, he was also the chief executive of the Charleston, S.C., airport.
“Of course, I may not be after this,” he continued to whine, probably visualizing the $250,000-a-year-job vanishing.
The politician claimed that his wife was the one who had been driving the vehicle when it hit another car on the interstate.
“This is not fun. This kinda sucks,” Campbell could be heard saying to himself as he waited alone in the patrol car. “I’m going to change the law on this. … I’m not DUI. I wasn’t driving the car anyway.”
Despite this, throughout the traffic stop, Campbell told the troopers to follow proper protocol, even stating that he was “happy to take a Breathalyzer test.” However, he did (unsuccessfully) try to get officers to loosen his handcuffs, which he said were hurting him.
Campbell, who ironically is the chairman of the Senate Ethics Committee, and his wife, Vicki, were on their way home from a Charleston marina Saturday night when “traffic just kinda stopped,” according to Vicki Campbell.
We all know how that darned traffic is. Always randomly stopping.
Vicki Campbell told responding troopers that she almost managed to stop, “but didn’t quite.”
The politician’s wife said she did not understand why the woman whose vehicle she rear-ended would tell troopers that she saw the couple swap seats after the collision.
“Perhaps she was confused,” Vicki Campbell, who passed field sobriety tests, added.
“I jumped out of the car to make sure she was OK. That’s what it’s all about,” the senator told the trooper. “Sir, I wasn’t driving the car. ... I’m sorry to put you through this.”
However, the driver of the other vehicle, 21-year-old Michaela Caddin, insisted and “was absolutely adamant, positive he was driving,” one trooper could be heard telling the other. “I think we probably just need to go ahead and proceed with him.”
Both the senator and his wife are facing charges of lying to officers.
From the Post and Courier:
State law requires legislators to be suspended if they’re indicted for a crime of “moral turpitude.” State Attorney General Alan Wilson has said he believes lying to officers is such a crime, but Campbell hasn’t been indicted on the charge.
Campbell’s blood-alcohol level was recorded at .09. The legal limit in South Carolina is .08.
Despite the seriousness of the charges and his intermittent whining, Campbell seemed rather unfazed, chatting with the officer about college football as they drove to jail.
“So I get to spend the night in jail? I’m OK with that,” Campbell chuckled.
Read more at the Post and Courier.