Business

Crapo’s DUI a surprise

Idaho senator is member of the Mormon church

BOISE – When U.S. Sen. Mike Crapo sponsored a 2010 bill to cut taxes on small breweries, he said he did so for pro-business, not pro-beer reasons.

A Mormon, the Idaho Republican told the Associated Press at the time that he abstains from alcohol, and he pledged to have a root beer to celebrate if the bill passed.

Crapo’s arrest early Sunday in a Washington, D.C., suburb on suspicion of drunken driving suggests a private life that departed from his public persona as a teetotaling member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. About a quarter of Idaho’s population subscribes to the Mormon faith, which discourages members from using alcohol, as well as coffee, tea and tobacco.

Colleagues said Monday they were taken aback by word of Crapo’s arrest. The three-term senator is accused of registering a 0.11 percent blood-alcohol level on a breath test after running a red light in Alexandria, Va., where the legal limit is 0.08.

State Sen. Brent Hill of Rexburg, who considers Crapo a friend, said his son called him with the news, and his reaction was: “You must be talking about somebody else.”

Hill is the Idaho Senate’s top Republican, a position Crapo held while he was a state lawmaker from 1988 to 1992. Like Crapo, Hill is a Mormon.

“Obviously, I think many of us are very disappointed,” Hill told the AP. “As a citizen of the state of Idaho, we have a right to be disappointed, and as a member of his faith, I’m disappointed that a tenet of our faith didn’t mean any more to him than evidently it did.”

Crapo faces a Jan. 4 court date.

Lindsay Nothern, a spokesman for the senator in Idaho, said Crapo would have no comment Monday. The lawmaker, who is married with five children, was spending the Christmas holiday with family, Nothern said.

In a statement Sunday, Crapo took responsibility and pledged to ensure “this circumstance is never repeated.”

“I am deeply sorry for the actions that resulted in this circumstance,” said Crapo, 61. “I made a mistake for which I apologize to my family, my Idaho constituents and any others who have put their trust in me.”

The state’s junior U.S. senator, Republican Jim Risch, also was “very surprised” by the news, spokesman Brad Hoaglun said.

But Hoaglun said Crapo, a cancer survivor whose public image previously was squeaky clean, should be able to count on Idaho residents’ forgiveness and understanding during what’s clearly a difficult time.

“As a friend and colleague, I offer my support and help to him in any way I can,” Risch said in a statement. “Senator Crapo has worked hard on behalf of Idahoans for many years and I have full confidence that Senator Crapo will continue his dedicated and unselfish service to the people of Idaho.”

Idaho politicians getting arrested for drunken driving is nothing new: Gov. Butch Otter was arrested in the early 1990s, when he was lieutenant governor; Democratic state Sen. Edgar Malepeai of Pocatello was arrested for DUI in 2009; and former state Sen. John McGee, a Caldwell Republican, was arrested on Father’s Day 2011 after driving drunk and taking a car that didn’t belong to him.

But none of them was Mormon.

The U.S. Senate adjourned last week and wasn’t expected to resume until Wednesday; it’s unclear why Crapo had remained in Washington, D.C., ahead of the Christmas holiday.

According to the police report, he was alone in his car. It wasn’t immediately clear where he’d been or where he was going when he was stopped.

The 2010 bill he sponsored on cutting taxes for brewers ultimately stalled.



There are four comments on this story »



Blogs

Fort Grounds Drive open to walkers

Deputy City Administrator Sam Taylor reports on the city of Coeur d'Alene Facebook wall: Fort Grounds Drive is open to pedestrians and Memorial Field parking is now open again, too! ...




Gun control measure headed for ballot

OLYMPIA -- Voters will get a chance to decide in November whether Washington judges should be able to order people considered dangerous to give up their guns. Initiative 1491 would ...



Saving for the future

sponsored According to two 2015 surveys, 62 percent of Americans do not have enough savings to handle an unexpected emergency, much less any long-term plans.



Sections


Profile

Contact the Spokesman

Main switchboard:
(509) 459-5000
Customer service:
(800) 338-8801
Newsroom:
(509) 459-5400
(800) 789-0029
Back to Spokesman Mobile