Ben Foster, Pawlenty staffer, arrested in Iowa for drunkenness

Ben Foster, the Pawlenty operative arrested for drunkenness this morning in Iowa.

Ben Foster, the Pawlenty operative arrested for drunkenness this morning in Iowa.

When Tim Pawlenty hired 24-year-old Ben Foster in September, it made headlines: Foster was the first full-time Iowa staffer for any of the nascent 2012 presidential campaigns.

Today, Foster's making headlines for his boss a different way -- by getting arrested for public drunkenness.


Apparently Foster was sufficiently drunk at 3 a.m. today that he tried to get into the wrong house. Fifteen-year-old Chloe Seward of Ankeny, Iowa told the local TV news she was woken up by her dog, only to find Foster's arm through the back door, trying to get in. She screamed. The police were called. Foster puked on her lawn.

Foster was arrested and jailed around 4 a.m., according to the Polk County Sheriff's office. Foster posted $600 bail a few hours later.

The Pawlenty camp released the obligatory statement:

Ben Foster's booking photo.

Ben Foster's booking photo.

"Governor Pawlenty is extremely disappointed in Ben's actions and his behavior does not meet the standards he expects of his employees," reads the statement by Pawlenty strategist Eric Woolson. "Therefore, the committee is placing Ben on a two-week unpaid suspension and expects him to bear the legal consequences for his action."

It's a rough turn of events for the young operative, who, according to his LinkedIn page, is a 2009 graduate of the University of Alabama, where he was active with the College Republican Federation of Alabama.

In 2008, Foster journeyed to the Twin Cities for the Republican National Convention, where he got himself photographed with a variety of conservative high muckamucks like Karl Rove, Michele Bachmann, Joe Scarborough, and Neil Cavuto.

The arrest is also a blow to Pawlenty, who has now become the second high-profile Minnesota politician to find his campaign rocked by the arrest of a drunken staffer.

Tom Emmer's gubernatorial campaign was thrown into damage-control mode last summer when Mark Buesgens, then on file as Emmer's campaign manager, was pulled over and caught on a police-cruiser dash-cam in a state of fairly spectacular drunkenness.