Thursday, March 15, 2007

Nixon fundraiser had refused breathalyzer test before

In an earlier post today on The Turner Report, it was noted that the Missouri Southern District Court of Appeals had ordered Taney County Circuit Court Judge Tony Williams to revoke the driver's license of former state representative, Clinton campaign coordinator, and long time Democratic Party power broker Kathleen Steele-Danner.

The court decision came on Tuesday, just three days after Mrs. Steele-Danner and her husband, former State Senator Steve Danner, threw a $50 a plate fundraiser at their Branson home for Attorney General Jay Nixon's gubernatorial campaign.

The court opinion indicated Judge Williams had tossed out a DWI charge against Mrs. Steele-Danner in 2005 and restored her driving privileges, which had been automatically revoked when she refused to take a breathalyzer test. The decision was made despite the fact that an officer testified that Mrs. Steele-Danner had failed several field sobriety tests.

Tuesday's decision came not long after the 10-year anniversary of the conclusion of the first court case in which Mrs. Steele-Danner filed suit against the Missouri Director of Revenue after having her license taken away after she refused to take a breathalyzer test. documents indicate Mrs. Steele-Danner, still known as Kathleen Steele and serving as regional director at the Kansas City office of the Department of Health and Human Services at the time, had her driving privileges restored by Clay County Circuit Court Judge Anthony Rex Gabbert on Jan. 15, 1997.

After a hearing in which she was represented by Independence attorney Bob Knapp, Judge Gabbert issued the following ruling, according to, "All issues not found in the affirmative. Petition is sustained."

Long time followers of Missouri politics may recall the incident in which Speaker of the House Bob Griffin was arrested for driving while intoxicated. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch article on the incident, which ran in its March 13, 1993 edition, began like this:

A mixed drink was hanging in a cup holder on the driver's side window of House Speaker Bob F. Griffin's car when police arrested him for driving while intoxicated early Thursday morning.

According to the article Griffin:

-Appeared so inebriated that the arresting officer, who was administering a sobriety test to Griffin, stopped it "for his safety."

-Told police he had been at committee meetings before his arrest shortly after 3 a.m. The police department checked with Capitol police and learned "there are no representatives in late session."

The day after his arrest, according to the Post-Dispatch account, Griffin said he, other legislators and lobbyists had attended a breakfast, after the bar they had been at the apartment of Rep. Kathleen Steele, D-Kirksville:

Steele, in a telephone interview, said she had been at Bones (the bar where Griffin had been earlier) and had invited several lawmakers and lobbyists to an apartment she shares with Rep. May Schieve, D-Affton. She said they woke up Scheeve and fixed scrambled eggs and that she did not see Griffin drink anything.

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