Republican State Senate Leader Placed Under Arrest

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On Tuesday, Kansas state Senate Majority Leader Gene Suellentrop (R) was arrested in his home state for drunk driving. Shortly before 4 a.m. local time, he was booked into the Shawnee County Jail — Shawnee County includes Topeka, which is the state capital, where state legislators like Suellentrop ordinarily gather to complete some of their duties. On their record of his arrest, the Shawnee County Department of Corrections reported five charges against Suellentrop, including driving under the influence, fleeing a law enforcement officer, speeding, improper crossover on a divided highway, and improper driving on a laned roadway.

The charge for fleeing a law enforcement officer suggests that Suellentrop may have attempted to avoid his arrest. As of late Tuesday morning Eastern time just hours after his initial arrest, Suellentrop’s record did not indicate any bond for his case, but a Kansas NBC affiliate reported that he was being held with a $1,000 bond. Suellentrop is not a new addition to the state legislature. He has served in the Kansas state legislature in some capacity since 2009, although he only assumed the role of state Senate majority leader last year. It wasn’t immediately clear how his arrest might impact his political career.

See the arrest record below:

Screenshot-2021-03-16-at-11.14.53-AM Republican State Senate Leader Placed Under Arrest Corruption Politics Top Stories

Suellentrop is not the only Republican state legislator who has recently faced some form of legal trouble. West Virginia state legislator Derrick Evans, a Republican, actually participated in the storming of the U.S. Capitol and has since been criminally charged over his involvement. Evans resigned from his position in the state legislature. Meanwhile, over in Tennessee, FBI agents recently searched homes and offices connected to multiple Republican members of the state legislature. Months before those January raids, Tennessee state Senator Katrina Robinson, a Democrat, was arrested on dozens of fraud and embezzlement charges.

Nationwide, Republican leaders have faced serious scrutiny for their parts in inciting the riot at the Capitol in January, and investigators handling the fallout of the violence have reportedly looked into connections between the rioting and prominent far-right activists including Roger Stone and Alex Jones, although neither are accused of direct participation in the violence. Nevertheless, they could have provided documentable inspiration to the rioters.