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Ex-GOP Rep. Sweeney Arrested Again On D.W.I. Charge

First Posted: 05/07/09 06:12 AM ET Updated: 05/25/11 02:10 PM ET

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Former Congressman John E. Sweeney was arrested early Sunday on charges of driving while intoxicated, his second arrest in less than 18 months.

The State Police stopped Mr. Sweeney, 53, for speeding about 3:30 a.m. Sunday on Route 9 in Clifton Park. He refused sobriety tests and was charged with felony driving while intoxicated.

He posted bail and was released. His next court appearance is scheduled for Thursday. A telephone number for him could not be found, and a call to his lawyer was not immediately returned.

In November 2007, Mr. Sweeney pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of misdemeanor drunken driving. The State Police said at the time that his blood alcohol level was measured at 0.18; in New York the legal limit is 0.08. He was once a county coordinator for STOP-DUI, a program that aims to reduce alcohol- and drug-related crashes.

As part of the plea, Mr. Sweeney's license was suspended for six months, he was fined $1,000, and he was required to attend a meeting of a victim's impact panel and classes for those convicted of drunken driving.

Mr. Sweeney, a Republican, lost his Congressional seat to Kirsten E. Gillibrand, a Democrat, in 2006, amid allegations of spousal abuse. Ms. Gillibrand replaced Hillary Rodham Clinton in the Senate in January. During the campaign, Mr. Sweeney was criticized after photographs were published of him attending a late-night fraternity party outside his Congressional district.

Mr. Sweeney has also been part of a federal investigation for his dealings with the lobbying firm Powers & Company and its possible ties to Jack Abramoff. Mr. Abramoff, once a top Republican lobbyist and power broker in Washington, is serving a federal prison sentence after being convicted on corruption charges.

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Filed by Rachel Weiner  |