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Drug tests for senators and representatives
July 27, 2004 6:54 PM   Subscribe

Do senators or representatives take drug tests?
posted by Keyser Soze to Law & Government (23 answers total)
 
No. I'm pretty sure the country isn't quite that depraved just yet.
posted by sfenders at 7:29 PM on July 27, 2004


They'd never pass.
posted by Shane at 8:00 PM on July 27, 2004


there was a Georgia law requiring candidates for public office to be drug-tested: it was thrown out by the Supreme Court
posted by reverendX at 8:11 PM on July 27, 2004


Why does almost every fortune 500 company screen for drugs but we can't make sure our senators aren't doing cocaine?
posted by Keyser Soze at 8:45 PM on July 27, 2004


Good question. I doubt your average congressman or senator is screened for drug use. But what about those with high-level security clearance? Surely folk with clearance are screened regularly...
posted by funkbrain at 8:56 PM on July 27, 2004


Why would you want them to be screened?
posted by mathowie at 9:12 PM on July 27, 2004


Some people with clearance aren't even allowed to go under general anesthetic for dental proceedures without a security officer present, so I would guess there is some sort of chemical profiling going on at that level.
posted by samh23 at 9:14 PM on July 27, 2004


I don't know... are you (Matt) saying that people representing us should have the option to do drugs, if they see fit? My contention is that I find it unjust to declare required drug tests on people that do not have the power to challenge it (such as applying for a job, joining the football team) in the name of public safety, while disregarding the very thought of testing to the people enacting these laws.
posted by Keyser Soze at 9:39 PM on July 27, 2004


I don't know about you all, but I prefer my congressmen to have a clear head. Regardless of your theories on drug regulation, cocaine messes up the brain in ways I don't need or want in the people who run this country. After all, they're supposed to be representing us.
posted by jmd82 at 10:02 PM on July 27, 2004


I don't know... are you (Matt) saying that people representing us should have the option to do drugs, if they see fit?

I am. If they don't do a good job they won't be elected again. I don't know why anyone cares who they're fucking or what they're doing when they're not passing laws. I'd care much more about what laws they're passing than that.

In addition, I think much of drug testing in professional sports is downright draconian, but it makes some sense because at least in that scenario you have people getting multi-million-dollar contracts and you can be damn sure people signing the bills don't want their bodies to break down.
posted by The God Complex at 10:27 PM on July 27, 2004


I don't know about you all, but I prefer my congressmen to have a clear head

So vote against people you suspect legislate while stoned. Refuse to vote for any candidate who has not passed a whizz quiz.

Why does almost every fortune 500 company screen for drugs but we can't make sure our senators aren't doing cocaine?

Because the Constitution doesn't restrict the actions of Fortune 500 companies, but does restrict our ability to limit who can participate in political life.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 10:29 PM on July 27, 2004


but does restrict our ability to limit who can participate in political life.
Yea it does. Refer to who's eligible for Congress, Senate, and President.
posted by jmd82 at 10:34 PM on July 27, 2004


They don't get tested simply because they don't make a law that requires them to do so. They also have the best health insurance and retirement plans of any group in the country, and automatic raises, too.
posted by Goofyy at 11:42 PM on July 27, 2004


Yea it does. Refer to who's eligible for Congress, Senate, and President

Huh?

They also have the best health insurance and retirement plans of any group in the country

Last I checked, they get standard federal employee health and retirement plans. Which are generally pretty good.

automatic raises, too

Here too, they're basically just more federal employees, with COLAs coming out of OPM. For pay, I think they're classed as SES workers but wouldn't bet the farm on that.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 12:48 AM on July 28, 2004


My point was that the Constitution inheritly limits who is eligible for the aforementioned offices, though I could very well have mininterpreted your point.
posted by jmd82 at 12:55 AM on July 28, 2004


I generally consider being drug-tested for a job pure bullshit, especially when it's enforced on someone who's already performing the job satisfactorily. I would find zero satisfaction in adding more people to the list of the degraded, especially public employees. I generally consider drug testing the prerogative of the control-freak private sector employer who employs people at-will and has the option to screen them as he sees fit. It sucks, but it's their choice. I'd hate to see that kind of shit in the public sector too.

Drug-testing congressmen sounds all safety-minded and everything, but seriously, are you going to include a breathalizer test, too? Because for god's sake, no one should be legislating *drunk* in this country either. Think of the children! Personally, I have no problem with the president (aka: The Finger on the Button) getting as many goddamn blow jobs as he wants, and I wish, in fact, that the members of congress would pass a joint more often.

Refer to who's eligible for Congress, Senate, and President.

Reefer to them all, indeed!
posted by scarabic at 1:20 AM on July 28, 2004


Cocaine messes up the brain in ways I don't need or want in the people who run this country.

Not nearly as much as money does. Start by battling the corrupting influence of corporate funding.

It's quite possible that some of the politicians you meet along the way will be the same ones doing too much coke.
posted by skylar at 1:43 AM on July 28, 2004


I find it unjust to declare required drug tests on people that do not have the power to challenge it (such as applying for a job

ah, the sound of AutobiographyFilter...
suggestion: drink a gallon or more of mineral water a day for a week

;)
posted by matteo at 1:59 AM on July 28, 2004


What about alcohol?

It was well known that Nixon went on a tipple every afternoon. It caused a stir as his judgement would have been impaired had there been a nuclear crisis (read as: No one would have listened had he said "Push the button.")

Twenty-seven have driving while intoxicated arrests on their driving records.
-via MeFi.
posted by Shane at 5:57 AM on July 28, 2004


I would be in favor of drug testing for legislators who vote for stiffer anti-drug laws
posted by adamrice at 7:32 AM on July 28, 2004


ROU: Last I checked, they get standard federal employee health and retirement plans. Which are generally pretty good.

OK -- but do they have to wait the normal vesting time for full retirement benefits to kick in, or are they a special case in that regard? (Honestly, I don't know the answer to that one but I am willing to bet they don't have to be in the system as long as your typical GS-15).

scarabic: I'd hate to see that kind of shit in the public sector too.

I work in the public sector. Before I could be given a firm job offer I had to pass two (!) drug tests - blood & urine - as well as a basic physical. I'm quite sure, though, that the elected officials above me who made that a condition of my employment did not have to go through the same gauntlet.

That said, AFAIK there's no federal law compelling each and every one of us to be drug-tested as a condition of employment, so it's kind of silly to expect our elected leaders to do it voluntarily.
posted by contessa at 8:24 AM on July 28, 2004


the Constitution inheritly limits who is eligible for the aforementioned offices

Sure. It also limits the limits -- you can't go imposing new conditions of officeholding, or things that function as them. That's all I meant.

do they have to wait the normal vesting time for full retirement benefits to kick in

Sort of. 5 years to vest at all, full benefits at 50 with 20 years of service or any age w/25. They're in a different category from most federal employees that makes them pay higher contributions and also earns them higher payouts per year served. The special category includes firefighters, law-enforcement, ATC's, and other jobs where you're more likely not to serve a full career than a regular civil servant.

I'm quite sure, though, that the elected officials above me who made that a condition of my employment did not have to go through the same gauntlet

On the other hand, you didn't have to stand for election.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 12:00 PM on July 28, 2004


The reason that people with high security clearances must have a security officer present is so that they do not devulge (intentionally or not) confidential information that would harm the U.S.

I believe that everyone who holds a high security clearance, including elected officials, researchers, military, etc. should be subjected to drug and alcohol testing. The last thing that I want is someone who is on the national security council to let slip information about our combat capability because he slammed a few too many cosmos or snorted a couple of lines of coke.
posted by Juicylicious at 12:03 PM on July 28, 2004


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