The real Dreier scandal

My criticism of the “outing” of David Dreier assumed that he had kept his private life private. That turns out not to be the case, according to this LA Weekly account. Apprarently Dreier’s lover is also the chief of staff of the House Rules Committee, which Dreier chairs.

If Dreier had a wife, it would be against the rules of the House for him to employ her. If he had a girlfriend and made her the committee chief of staff, that would constitute, I think, a real scandal, and the press would generally agree.

So although I see no reason to use Dreier’s sexual orientation against him, I also don’t see why the rule “Keep your pecker off the public payroll” shouldn’t apply in this case. Mr. Smith should find a new job, and Mr. Dreier should be rebuked for having employed him in the first place.

It’s unfortunate that this (to my eyes) legitimate issue can’t be raised without raising the (to my eyes) illegitimate issue of Dreier’s homosexuality. But, as in the McGreevey case, the fact that a sex-and-politics scandal has gay overtones shouldn’t be allowed to shield its principals from public scrutiny.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com