House Judiciary Chairman Arrested on DUI and Weapons Charges

The Ames Tribune reported that State Representative Chip Baltimore was pulled over around 3:30 a.m. on Friday morning after reports of a reckless driver on Highway 35 was received by Ames police. Baltimore’s blood alcohol level was 0.147 percent. A Smith & Wesson pistol was also found in his car.

State Representative Chip Baltimore, a Republican, is the Chairman of the Iowa House Judiciary Committee, the committee that oversees the administration of justice in the state of Iowa. Essentially, when there are new laws or changes to existing laws, Rep. Baltimore has an enormous amount of influence in sway thanks to his position.

That is why today’s news that Baltimore, who is also an attorney, was arrested for drunk driving and a weapons charge is so stunning. If anyone in this state should know better, it’s Chip Baltimore.

The weapons charge is a result of Baltimore having a permit to carry, but that permit being rendered void if the permit holder is intoxicated. Last session Baltimore voted to reduce the penalty for carrying while intoxicated. House File 517 changed the penalty from an aggravated misdemeanor carrying weapons to a separate serious misdemeanor charge. The difference mainly is that it used to disqualify the person from possessing a firearm. Now it doesn’t.

This is not only embarrassing for Baltimore, but it also hurts his credibility of leading the judiciary committee in the Iowa House. He also may be in trouble professionally, as he likely has violated the Iowa Rules of Professional Conduct for attorneys.