Paul Pelosi, businessman and the husband of Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) was charged with driving a vehicle while under the influence outside of Yountville in Napa County during the weekend.
According to the California Highway Patrol and a booking report by the Napa County Sheriff’s Office, Pelosi got into an accident late on the night of May 28th, with his 2021 Porsche hitting a 2014 Jeep. Although neither of the drivers was injured, and the Jeep driver not being arrested, Pelosi was tested for driving under the influence.
Pelosi’s blood alcohol level came back above .08 and was promptly arrested before midnight. Pelosi was then booked early Sunday morning with bail being set at $5,000. The bail was subsequently paid, with Pelosi leaving the County jail at around 7:30 A.M.
Speaker Pelosi herself was not in the vehicle or California at the time, due to being in Providence, Rhode Island at the time during a trip to deliver a commencement address at Brown University. Speaker Pelosi declined to speak on the incident during the weekend, only referring it to being a private matter and reiterating that she had not been with her husband at the time.
“The speaker will not be commenting on this private matter which occurred while she was on the East Coast,” said a spokesman for Speaker Pelosi on Sunday.
While not a felony, Paul Pelosi, who is 82-years-old, may face misdemeanor DUI and blood alcohol content being above .08 when driving charges.
The complications of the DUI for Pelosi
Despite Nancy Pelosi in no way being involved, and numerous sources stating the Pelosi herself is not known to be a drinker, her husband’s DUI may make it more difficult to help garner support for some Democratic candidates later this year.
“DUIs follow you around for life, whether you are an average American worker or if you are a celebrity or athlete,” said Luisa Vargas, a researcher who studies drunk driving incidents involving public figures, to the Globe on Monday. “The same goes for politicians and those in office, and yes, those related to them.
“Actors and actresses who are arrested for DUIs tend to face heat for a few years. Back several decades ago, it was no big thing. Now, get caught, and you may lose a role in a TV show or movie. Athletes, you may lose out on millions in the next contract since you are that big a risk, if they even want to bring you back in the first place. Many are let go or traded.
“For politicians, those caught have a much harder time at reelection, any endorsement they give can be tainted, and, in many cases, their political careers are done. In California you have the case of former State Senator Roy Ashburn. In the 2000’s, he was known as a very conservative Republican who managed to win some stunning victories and was a leading voice against gay rights in the state. But then in 2010 he got a DUI in Sacramento. Ashburn was going out as Senator anyway, but the DUI followed him. When he ran for Kern County Supervisor a few years later, that DUI hung over him and, in addition to other factors like coming out as gay and being labeled a hypocrite, he lost badly that November. Even Kevin McCarthy didn’t want to endorse him.
“It will be nowhere this bad for Nancy Pelosi, but any endorsement of a candidate that has something related to DUIs or drunk driving or even a MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) endorsement can possibly hurt the candidate she wants. Not to mention it being easy fodder if she brings up safety or personal responsibility or other similar themes. DUIs of family members are often brought up if a politician like that gets on their high horse on something related. Life and work just got a little more complicated for the Pelosi’s.
More on Paul Pelosi’s DUI is expected in the coming days.