Update: Former U.S. Rep. Frank Guarini told PolitickerNJ.com that he did accidentally shoot a dog during a hunting trip to Alabama with then-U.S. Rep. Charles Schumer. Guarini says the dog survived. "One of the worst things you can do in life is shoot a dog," Guarini told PolitickerNJ.com. Guarini was 58-years-old at the time and was in his second term in Congress; Schumer was a 31-year-old freshman.
A former aide to the late Peter Rodino (D-Newark) thinks that a story U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) told Politico about a hunting trip with an "older, urban-oriented New Jersey congressman" during his early political career might be a fabrication. Schumer alleges that his more senior colleague shot a dog during that trip. A look at New Jersey's House delegation during Schumer's early years in Congress narrows down the list of likely candidates to Rodino and Joseph Minish (D-West Orange).
The perils of political hunting trips range from mockery- as with Sen. John Kerry's (D-Mass.) expensive gear- to mortal danger – as in ending up on the wrong end of Dick Cheney's 28-gauge.
But Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) had another story in mind when he traveled recently to Nebraska, a cautionary tale told to him early in his career by an older, urban-oriented New Jersey congressman who had made the mistake of accepting a hunting invitation from a Midwestern colleague.
"He shot the dog," Schumer recalled, referring to the outcome of the Jersey pol's inept marksmanship.
Schumer did not shoot the dog. He bagged three pheasants. And six weeks later, he bagged Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.), serving as key negotiator as Nelson held the fate oflandmark health care legislation in the balance.
When Schumer was elected to Congress in 1980, New Jersey had five Congressmen who might be described as urban-oriented: Robert Roe (D-Wayne), Frank Guarini (D-Jersey City), Bernard Dwyer (D-Edison), Minish, and Rodino. Of those only, only Minish (64) and Rodino (71) were over age sixty. Guarini was in his second term when Schumer was elected and Dwyer was elected the same year as Schumer. As far as being bad shots, all five were World War II veterans; Rodino was highly decorated.
As a freshman congressman, Schumer was on the House Banking, Finance and Urban Affairs Committee with Minish, and they served on two subcommittees together. In his second term, Schumer got a seat on the House Judiciary Committee, where Rodino was the chairman.
Minish and Schumer served together for just four year before Minish lost his bid for a twelfth term, and Rodino retired two years after that.
The former aide, who worked for Rodino during most of the early 1980's, insists that Rodino never shot a dog on a hunting trip with Schumer. A staffer for the late Dean Gallo (R-Parsippany), who unseated Minish in 1984, said that he never heard any rumors about Minish shooting a dog, and doubts that Schumer could have kept such a story to himself for nearly thirty years.