So Mitch Daniels Inhaled, So What?

In the wake of his CPAC speech, and perhaps not coincidentally, Politico’s Ben Smith dredges up an old story that Daniels was arrested in 1970 on a charge related to possession of marijuana:

Mitch Daniels is weighing a run for president 22 years after he glumly told his college newspaper, the Princetonian, that “any goal I might have had for competing for public office were shot.”

Though Daniels is often knocked as a dull numbers guy, his past is actually among the most colorful of any Republican contender’s, beginning with the surprisingly little-known fact that he was arrested and jailed in a drug sting operation that centered on his Princeton University dorm room.

According to campus newspaper reports supplied by the university, Daniels and two other students were swept up in a five-month joint investigation between New Jersey state police and local police that culminated in the May 14th, 1970 raid on Daniels’ shared room at111 Cuyler Hall.

Daniels and the two other students were initially charged with possession of marijuana, LSD and prescription drugs without a prescription and with “maintaining a common nuisance by maintaining a place for the sale of narcotics.”

A local detective testified that police had seized “enough marijuana to fill two size 12 shoe boxes and quantities of prescription drugs were found in the room,” according to a dispatch in the Daily Princetonian, whose archives aren’t available online for that year.

The undercover state police officer involved in the sting visited Daniels’ room “eight or nine times” and “observed narcotics paraphernalia, saw marijuana and hashish being used, and purchased marijuana prescription drugs and LSD.”

Daniels was never implicated in selling the drugs, and has never hidden the incident. During his 2004 run for governor, a former roommate told the Indianapolis Star that Daniels “had nothing to do” with selling drugs, saying “I was busted.” The roommate went on to say he was no fan of then-President Bush and would have gladly offered unflattering information about a GOP candidate if he’d had it.

Prosecutors later dropped the stiffer charges against Daniels, and he pled guilty to a disorderly person charge based on his use of marijuana, paying a $350 dollar fine.

Local Indiana media reported on the story, and the fact that Democrats in Indiana had tried, and failed to use it against Daniels back in 2004:

Frankly, if this is the best they can come up with on Daniels I’d say he has nothing to worry about. Obviously, he wasn’t hiding the story. Besides that, who wasn’t inhaling at Princeton 40 years ago?

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2012, Quick Takes, US Politics,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Chad S says:

    Smoking pot isn’t a big deal. But:
    “Daniels and the two other students were initially charged with possession of marijuana, LSD and prescription drugs without a prescription and with “maintaining a common nuisance by maintaining a place for the sale of narcotics.””

    Is more than that.

  2. Anon says:

    I think my personal feelings would depend on Daniels’ opinion on drug policies. If he is in favor of sane, rational policies toward non-violent users, then I have no problem with his past drug use.

  3. James Joyner says:

    I do think 41 years provides some room for maturation.

  4. EddieInCA says:

    Um… James, Doug…

    It will be Social Conservatives (i.e. Republicans) who will make this an issue, not Democrats or Liberals – unless of courss (like Rush Limbaugh), Mitch Daniels advocates for draconian drug penalties for users instead of a nuanced, rational drug policy.

  5. michael reynolds says:

    Eddie:

    Nah, like everything else — adultery, prostitution, making your maid supply you with opiates — it’s okay if you’re a Republican.

  6. c.red says:

    My problem with Mr Daniels is that he has a tendency to give out really generous contracts to privatize services and then calls it a gain by taking the old public costs off the books while hiding the new contract costs. (Also his income redistribution to the wealthy policies, but that is more my problem with the Republican Party as a whole.) I left Indiana a few years ago, so perhaps he has gotten better about that.

    I was in Indiana in 2004 and I don’t remember this ever coming up (I can’t view your video right now), so I don’t think it was much of big deal.

  7. PD Shaw says:

    “maintaining a common nuisance by maintaining a place for the sale of narcotics.”

    At least under current Indiana law, that appears to only mean that there was at least one sale of narcotics in a place Daniels owned or leased, and he knew about the sale. That could certainly constitute pretty minimal conduct.

  8. Neil Hudelson says:

    c.red,

    Nope, that is still Daniel’s M.O.

  9. Franklin says:

    “Daniels and two other students were swept up in a five-month joint investigation”

    Heh heh, and what did that joint smell like?

  10. PD Shaw says:

    It’s always hilarious to see television reporting from a station’s “web center,” wherein someone is merely reading Politico to the masses. But what does it all mean?

    “And comments on the web site tend to support Daniels.”

    That is all. Reporting from the intertubes, embedded deep in the comment threads, this has been Jim.

  11. Terrye says:

    If that is the worst thing the man ever did, he is better than most.