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Federal Election Commission lawyers urged a federal judge not to heed former U.S. Sen. Larry Craig's contention that regulators are being too hard on him — and to force him to pay nearly $360,000 in fines and restitution for tapping campaign accounts for his legal defense following his 2007 arrest in an airport bathroom sex sting, the AP reports. The FEC says the Idaho Republican ignored the U.S. Senate's own warnings not to spend the money. Craig also has acknowledged the campaign didn't seek out FEC guidance on whether he should spend the money or not because he was worried it would tell him not to do it, the commission's lawyers wrote; click below for a full report from AP reporter John Miller.
Former Idaho Sen. Larry Craig is protesting the FEC's proposed $360,000 in fines and restitution for tapping campaign accounts for his legal defense following his 2007 arrest in an airport bathroom sex sting, calling the penalties “harsh” and “unjustified,” the AP reports. Craig also argues that he doesn't have the financial resources to pay, and that he and his lawyers acted in good faith, having genuinely thought using the campaign money was appropriate because they concluded other lawmakers had done it in the past. Craig also disputed that the hefty fine would deter other lawmakers from acting as he did. “Any deterrent effect has already been achieved,” wrote his lawyer, Andrew Herman. “The professional and personal consequences of Senator Craig's guilty plea have been severe … To argue that without a harsh penalty a party might want to duplicate this experience ignores these costs.” Click below for a full report from AP reporter John Miller.
Here's a news item from the Associated Press: BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Ex-U.S. Sen. Larry Craig won more time to file court paperwork as he fights federal election regulators who contend he misused campaign funds to defend himself following his 2007 arrest in an airport bathroom sex sting. A judge in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., Thursday gave Craig until Nov. 13 to file documents opposing the Federal Election Commission's proposal he be forced to pay $140,000 in fines and return $217,000 to his campaign accounts. Previously, Craig's documents were due by Wednesday. Craig contends it was legal to divert hundreds of thousands of dollars from his campaign supporters to support his legal defense in the 2007 case. He claims it was part of official business when he was arrested while traveling from Idaho to his Senate job in Washington, D.C.
Here's a news item from the Associated Press: BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Former U.S. Sen. Larry Craig says he needs more time in his bid to fight off demands by federal election regulators he pay $140,000 in fines and return $217,000 to his campaign that he'd used for his legal defense after his 2007 arrest in an airport bathroom sex sting. Craig filed the documents late Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C. Ordinarily, the Idaho Republican would have until just the end of this month to formally oppose the Federal Election Commission's proposed penalties against him for allegedly misusing campaign cash. Now, however, Craig is asking U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson for another two weeks to file paperwork he hopes will help him avoid stiff financial penalties. In Tuesday's filing, Craig says the FEC doesn't object to the delay.
Former Idaho Sen. Larry Craig should personally have to pay a “significant” civil penalty of $70,000 for his “serious violations” of campaign finance laws, the Federal Election Commission argues in a recent court filing, in proceedings stemming from Craig’s use of campaign funds to pay legal fees after his 2007 Minnesota airport men’s room arrest. McClatchy News Service reports that FEC attorneys are calling for Craig’s campaign committee also to pay $70,000 in penalties, saying total penalties of $140,000 would have a “real deterrent impact” to keep other politicians from improperly tapping campaign funds for personal purposes.
Craig’s attorneys have argued that the then-senator was “engaged in official, Senate-sponsored travel” at the time of his arrest, when he was returning to Washington, D.C. from Idaho, so the use of the campaign funds wasn’t improper. An undercover officer said Craig solicited him for sex in a restroom that was being patrolled after reports of such encounters; Craig quietly pleaded guilty to a charge of misdemeanor disorderly conduct, but after news of the arrest and plea surfaced, began an unsuccessful legal fight to withdraw his plea, denied any sexual intentions in the incident and proclaimed that he’s not gay.
Amid extensive national publicity, Craig announced his intent to resign from the Senate, then changed his mind and served out his term, retiring in 2008 after a congressional career that began in 1980; he is now a political and regulatory consultant in Idaho and Washington, D.C. You can read McClatchy’s full report here.
Here's a news item from the Associated Press: IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (AP) — Former U.S. Sen. Larry Craig is scheduled to speak Thursday at commencement ceremonies for graduates at a University of Idaho satellite campus in Idaho Falls in southeastern Idaho. The Post Register reports (http://bit.ly/17pp3iP) that 73 degrees will be awarded from the University Place campus Thursday, and that nine will be doctoral degrees. Craig is scheduled to speak about his political career that ended in 2009 when he left office following a sex scandal. The Idaho Republican and UI graduate was arrested by an undercover police officer conducting a sting operation against men cruising for sex at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. Craig pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct and paid a fine. After his arrest later became public, he tried unsuccessfully to reverse his conviction.
- Larry Craig
A federal judge today refused to dismiss a Federal Election Commission lawsuit against former Idaho Sen. Larry Craig for using $217,000 in campaign funds for his legal defense after his arrest in a 2007 airport bathroom sex sting, the Associated Press reports. Craig had argued the use of the funds was appropriate because the incident occurred in the course of his official duties, but U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson found that the charge against Craig didn't relate “to his conduct as a legislator, but only actions undertaken in the privacy and anonymity of a restroom stall.” The judge set a scheduling conference in the case for April 26; click below for a full report from AP reporter Frederic J. Frommer in Washington, D.C.
A federal judge refused on Thursday to dismiss a Federal Election Commission lawsuit that accuses former Sen. Larry Craig of misusing $217,000 in campaign funds for his legal defense after his arrest in a 2007 airport bathroom sex sting. Craig had argued that the airport bathroom trip fell under his official duties as senator because he was traveling between Idaho and Washington for work, and therefore the legal fees could be paid for with campaign money. But U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson rejected that argument. She wrote in her ruling that the charge against Craig didn't relate “to his conduct as a legislator, but only actions undertaken in the privacy and anonymity of a restroom stall.” Jackson set a scheduling conference in the case for April 26/Associated Press. More here.
Fed judge to consider whether then-Sen. Craig was on official business during ‘07 airport restroom arrest
The question of whether then-Idaho Sen. Larry Craig was on official business when he was arrested in a Minneapolis airport men's room in 2007 will be taken up by a federal judge this week, McClatchy Newspapers reporter Michael Doyle reports, in a case with far-reaching implications about how campaign dollars can be spent. Craig spent more than $216,000 in campaign funds to pay attorneys, after being charged with disorderly conduct; his attorneys insist he was on official business and so could tap his campaign treasury. Click below for Doyle's full report, via McClathy and the AP.
Former U.S. Sen. Larry Craig is among those addressing lawmakers on the House Environment and Senate Resources committees in the Capitol Auditorium this afternoon, as part of a presentation on nuclear energy in Idaho, past and future. Craig offered “a bit of a historic perspective,” saying, “Gov. Andrus saw the problem and took action. Gov. Batt was elected, he was faced with a responsibility to deal with the issue that he was handed when he was elected governor. I was then the U.S. senator, I got a call from our governor saying, ‘Larry, what do we do?’ I assembled the DOE people and the governor and the attorney general came, and the discussion began that ultimately crafted the agreement, unique to all the states in the nation.”
Craig noted that the agreement, which is best known as the Batt Agreement or the nuclear waste settlement agreement, was endorsed by Idaho voters. “Those who embrace the agreement today, and that’s all of us, amongst them were once its enemies and its critics,” he said.
Still, he said, ”There may be some need for change in the future, depending on mission and dynamics and understanding.” Craig compared the waste agreement to the U.S. Constitution. “It’s been changed 27 times over 200 years to fit the changing needs of a changing nation,” he said. “We may want to do that with this agreement in the future to meet the mission of the laboratory.”
Gov. Butch Otter and state Commerce Director Jeff Sayer also are among those addressing lawmakers at this afternoon’s session; you can watch live here. Otter applauded the work of his Leadership in Nuclear Energy (LINE) Commission, in its newly issued review of the Idaho National Laboratory in eastern Idaho and nuclear-related activities in the state. “I concur wholeheartedly with the commission’s assessment that the Idaho National Laboratory is a significant state asset,” Otter said. “The state of Idaho should take immediate and long-term steps to enhance the future of the nation’s lead nuclear research and development laboratory that is responsible for over 24,000 jobs and has an annual economic impact on Idaho of more than $3.5 billion.” Click below for more from Otter in his full news release.
The senator went to the bathroom on official government business. It sounds like the first line in a joke, a juvenile one at that. But all of us who have spent the past five years watching the farce that is the Larry Craig case know better. We’ve all learned that the laughable is the serious, the implausible the norm. In Craig’s latest legal shenanigans, the former senator is arguing that it’s OK that he used $217,000 in campaign money to fight his arrest in a Minneapolis airport restroom — because the only reason he was in the airport in the first place was because he was traveling from Idaho to Washington, D.C., on Senate business. Argues Craig’s attorney, Andrew Herman: “Not only was the trip itself constitutionally required, but Senate rules sanction reimbursement for any cost relating to a senator’s use of a bathroom while on official travel.” Since Herman just had to go there, the overgrown junior high schooler in me has to ask: What kind of costs are incurred during a routine trip to a restroom?/Kevin Richert, Idaho Statesman. More here.
Question: Given Larry Craig's poor judgment in his public bathroom behavior and his responses after being caught, do you ever wonder about his judgment as a congressman representing Idaho for decades?
The senator went to the bathroom on official government business. It sounds like the first line in a joke, a juvenile one at that. But all of us who have spent the past five years watching the farce that is the Larry Craig case know better. We've all learned that the laughable is the serious, the implausible the norm. In Craig's latest legal shenanigans, the former senator is arguing that it's OK that he used $217,000 in campaign money to fight his arrest in a Minneapolis airport restroom — because the only reason he was in the airport in the first place was because he was traveling from Idaho to Washington, D.C., on Senate business. Argues Craig's attorney, Andrew Herman: “Not only was the trip itself constitutionally required, but Senate rules sanction reimbursement for any cost relating to a senator's use of a bathroom while on official travel.” Since Herman went there, the overgrown junior high schooler in me has to ask: What kind of costs are incurred during a routine trip to a restroom?/Kevin Richert, Idaho Statesman. More here.
Question: What kind of expense could then U.S. senator Larry Craig have incurred while going to the bathroom in the Minneapolis airport?
Here's a news item from the Associated Press: BOISE, Idaho (AP) ― Former Republican U.S. Sen. Larry Craig aims to scuttle federal campaign charges against him by arguing his infamous July 11, 2007 Minneapolis airport bathroom visit that ended in his sex-sting arrest was part of his official Senate business. He's hoping to avoid repaying $217,000 in campaign funds the Federal Election Commission claims that Craig misused to defend himself. Craig was sued in June by regulators, on grounds the campaign money was converted to personal use because Craig's defense in Minnesota had no connection to his campaign for federal office. Instead, Craig's lawyer argues in U.S. District Court this week that his Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport bathroom visit fell under his official duties. He cites a U.S. Senate rule in which reimbursable per diem expenses include meals, lodging ― and baths. Click below for a full report from AP reporter John Miller.
Five years ago last Monday, then-U.S. Sen. Larry Craig, R-Idaho, walked into the men's room at the Minneapolis airport and got into trouble. An undercover airport cop said Craig propositioned him for gay sex. Craig pleaded guilty to disturbing the peace. And we've been talking about it ever since. Why? Ask Craig. It's Craig who has refused to come clean about misleading Idahoans about his “intent to resign from the Senate,” only to take it back and serve out the remaining 16 months of his term. Never once has Craig subjected himself to an even modestly objective interviewer to answer why he misled his constituents - even though he now insists on playing the role of elder statesman wherever the opportunity presents itself/Marty Trillhaase, Lewiston Tribune. More to come.
Question: What would you advice Larry Craig to do if he had a do-over after getting caught in the Minneapolis, Minn., airport bathroom — to minimize fallout?
On Monday — four years and 364 days after his arrest in a Minneapolis airport — Larry Craig became a defendant in a civil case. This time, the Federal Election Commission sued the former senator, his campaign committee and Kaye O’Riordan, his former campaign treasurer. According to the FEC, some $217,000 was siphoned from campaign coffers into Craig’s criminal defense; the agency wants Craig to pay back the money, and is seeking fines for Craig and O’Riordan. Whether Craig violated campaign finance rules is a matter for a Washington. D.C., court to decide. But if the FEC’s claims are correct, Craig and his campaign team certainly violated their donors’ trust/Idaho Statesman. More here. (AP file photo of Larry Craig booking photos)
Question: Do you agree with Statesman editorial that former U.S. senator Larry Craig violated his donors' trust, if not FEC law, by using campaign money in his criminal defense?
Here's a news item from the Associated Press: BOISE, Idaho (AP) ― Former U.S. Sen. Larry Craig was sued by federal election regulators contending he misused some $217,000 in campaign funds for his legal defense against charges stemming from a 2007 Minnesota airport bathroom sex sting. Federal Election Commission officials said in Monday's complaint in U.S. District Court that the Idaho Republican should repay the money. The FEC contends Craig's campaign paid $139,952 to Sutherland, Asbill and Brennan in Washington, D.C., and $77,032 to Kelly & Jacobson in Minnesota for legal services related to his guilty plea. The FEC said the money was converted to personal use because his defense wasn't related to his campaign. The commission is also seeking penalties of up to $6,500 from Craig and his treasurer. A call to Craig's lobbying firm, New West Strategies in Washington, D.C., wasn't returned. You can read the complaint against Craig here; click below for a full report from AP reporter John Miller.
It’s a news story that, in Idaho, has become a legend. A conservative senator arrested for soliciting sex with another man in an airport bathroom. In video from C-SPAN from 2007 Idaho Senator Larry Craig apologizes just after the story broke. “While I was not involved in any inappropriate conduct at the Minneapolis airport or anywhere else, I chose to plead guilty to a lesser charge in hopes of making it go away,” he said. “That was a mistake and I deeply regret it.” Craig’s arrest is the inspiration for a new play that opened at Boise Contemporary Theater Wednesday. But Dwayne Blackaller, who directs Off the Record, says it’s not the story of what happened to Larry Craig/Adam Cottrell, Boise State Public Radio. More here. (Photo of “Off the Record” banner from Boise State Public Radio)
Question: Would you be interested in seeing “Off The Record”?
Really. The Sunlight Foundation's revamped “Capitol Words” rivals other online time-wasters. There's an Idaho page where you learn that the top five words spoken by Idaho members of Congress since 1996 are: Idahoans, Idaho's, Idaho, Boise and id. (Id? Is Idaho Rep. Mike Simpson, a notoriously voracious reader, channeling Freud from the well of the House? Oh, ID, as in the postal abbreviation for Idaho!) “Nuclear,” “agriculture” and “timber” are six, seven and eight, and “mountain” comes in No. 19. Also, you can search by legislator's name, and learn fun facts, including that “potato” is Simpson's 14th favorite word, ahead of No. 20 “dental,” a mouthful for a former dentist. Speaking of “potato,” Simpson ranks No. 3 in use of the word, trailed immediately by former Sen. Larry Craig of Idaho/Dan Popkey, Idaho Statesman. More here.
Question: Which word do you think you say most?
Dennis Mansfield: Just as time was on Idaho's side regarding Nazis moving away, multiple marriages stopping and toe-tapping going silent in airport men's rooms, an apparently mentally ill guy from Idaho is arrested, The Blaze reports - for the firing of rounds at the White House. It's not just Idaho…it's Idaho Falls, Idaho … just so we get tagged doubly. More here.
Question: Will Oscar Ramiro Ortega-Hernandez join toe-tapping Larry Craig and the nearly departed Nazis as another kooky face of Idaho?
Charlie Sheen has been on a lot of talk shows lately and, quite frankly, he’s been painful to watch. Yeah, the poor guy appears to be off the crack and back in control. Aw, Charlie, say it ain’t so. I know. That sounds harsh. It’s fashionable to act horrified when famous people veer off the rails or – in Sheen’s case – blow like an aerosol can of bug spray left too close to a campfire. I’m talking about …
- Lindsay Lohan handcuffed and hoosegow-bound.
- Britney Spears shaving her head into a cue ball.
- Anthony Weiner mass-texting his, um, sausage photos.
- Larry Craig tap-tapping for man love in an airport toilet stall.
“Outrageous,” we huff. “Disgusting!” we puff. Aw, come off it. Be honest. You revel in these celebrity psycho soap operas as much as I do. But I’m here to tell you that it’s not wrong to feel this way/Doug Clark, SR. More here.
Question: Do you enjoy seeing celebrities and politicians crash and burn, deep down?
In his Boise Weekly column, Ted Rall lambastes the Puritanism of our culture — he considers it a curse second only to racism — that resulted in the resignation of Congressman Anthony Weiner. Writes Rall: “It is well past time we Americans grew up. No one should be pressured to resign because of sex. Even when they're a hypocrite.” Then, Rall claims America missed a teachable moment during the low-level scandal involving former U.S. Sen. Larry Craig. Again, Rall: “Rather than ridicule the man, we ought to have defended him as a victim of an unjust law. In the 21st century, why should anyone go to jail for soliciting consensual sex?” You can read Ted Rall's full column here. (AP file photo)
Question: Should elected representatives like Weiner and Craig be shamed and even forced out of office when they become entangled in odd sexual behavior? Or should the country merely shrug?
- Monday Poll: Hucks Nation agreed with the Coeur d'Alene School Board's unanimous appointment of former chairwoman Wanda Quinn to fill the spot of resigning Chairwoman Edie Brooks. Quinn received 51 of 103 votes (49.51%) from Hucks Nation, followed by Christa Hazel with 35 of 103 (33.98%). Conservative Jim Purtee got 13 votes (12.62%) while Tony Norris & Carole Springer tied w/2 votes (1.94%) each.
- Twitter Scandal: 84 of 147 respondents (57.14%) put U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner's Twitter scandal in the same league as former U.S. Sen. Larry Craig's toe-tapping scandal. 43 of 147 respondents (29.25%) consider Craig's scandal worse. 19 of 147 (12.93%) consider Weiner's scandal worse. 1 respondent was undecided.
- Better/Worse Off: 33 of 94 (35.11%) say they expect to be worse off by the time the 2012 presidential election is held. The same number expect to be doing about the same. 28 of 94 (29.79%) expect to be better off in November 2012.
- Today's Question: Do a married person's online flirtations — including explicit ones — count as infidelity?
A new Idaho play is based on former Sen. Larry Craig’s 2007 arrest in an airport bathroom sex sting. The Idaho Statesman reports the 90-minute drama was part of the Boise Contemporary Theater’s new works reading series Monday. The play, “Off the Record,” is about an airport police officer who detains a U.S. senator after a toe-tapping incident in a public restroom. Lynn Allison’s play takes a fictional turn as the officer and the senator engage in a conversation about American attitudes on homosexuality/Associated Press. More here.
Question: Would you be interested in seeing this play?
Former Idaho U.S. Sen. Larry Craig is working for a sportsmen's group that wants Congress to lift Endangered Species Act protections from wolves on grounds the prolific predators are hurting big game populations that are coveted by hunters in the region. Craig represents Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife and was in Idaho's Capitol Monday, touting wolf delisting bills now in the U.S. House and Senate. Lawmakers, including Idaho U.S. Sen. Jim Risch, Craig's successor in Washington, D.C., seek to bypass the Endangered Species Act and lift 36-year-old protections for today's booming U.S. wolf population. Advocates who accompanied Craig say they have about 50 co-sponsors for federal legislation, including lawmakers from outside Rocky Mountain states, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan where most of the nation's wolves roam/John Miller, AP. More here. (AP file photo)
Question: Is Larry Craig the right person to lobby against Endangered Species Act protection for wolves?
There was a time when then-Idaho Sen. Larry Craig was dubbed the “cybersenator” because he was the first U.S. senator to send out podcasts. Now, it seems, our digital edge in the U.S. Senate has slipped. George Washington University and New York University’s Stern School of Business have completed a joint study that evaluated and ranked every senator for what it dubbed their “digital I.Q.,” or “online competence” based on presence on websites, social media following and sentiment, digital marketing aptitude and search engine optimization skills. Idaho’s results? Sen. Mike Crapo ranked 64th among the 100 senators, and Sen. Jim Risch ranked 93rd.
The top seven senators were dubbed “digital geniuses,” and were led by none other than Sen. John McCain, who famously said “I don’t email” during the 2008 presidential campaign. According to the study, he got his first Blackberry in January 2009 and “took to the Twittersphere,” and he now has 1.7 million Twitter followers and 630,000 Facebook “likes.” The other senators who got the “digital genius” designation were Sens. Jim DeMint, Scott Brown, Al Franken, John Cornyn, Harry Reid and Barbara Boxer. Republicans led Democrats in the study, with an average digital I.Q. 5.5 percent higher than their colleagues across the aisle. “Our thesis is that digital competence provides an opportunity for senators to authentically engage and mobilize voters and constituents,” wrote the two authors of the study, Scott Galloway, clinical associate professor of marketing at NYU Stern, and Doug Guthrie, dean of the George Washington School of Business.
So what’s the designation for our guys? Crapo’s score of 89 (McCain’s was 156) designates his digital I.Q. as “challenged.” And Risch? At a score of 68, he’s dubbed “feeble.”
JEERS … to former U.S. Sen. Larry Craig, R-Idaho. If the disgraced Republican wants to hide in a bunker, fine. But don’t expect the thousands of Idahoans whose trust he betrayed three years ago to elevate him to elder statesman status. Not when he refuses to level with them. Case in point: Craig’s three-hour appearance on a Boise talk radio program Monday. Craig and Idaho Freedom Foundation Executive Director Wayne Hoffman were filling in for KBOI’s conservative host Nate Shelman. Hoffman is a former Idaho Statesman political reporter who also served as former Congressman Bill Sali’s press secretary. Wouldn’t you think at some point they’d get around to discussing how Craig got arrested in a gay sex sting operation at the Minneapolis airport?/Marty Trillhaase, Lewiston Tribune. More here.
Question: If other politicians, past and former, can rehabilitate their images, why can’t Larry Craig? Will he ever be able to do so?
Nick Adams: Wayne Hoffman spent three hours on the air with former Senator Larry “wide stance” Craig earlier this week and didn’t allow one question about why Craig is now a former Senator. Also, not one comment on two of the biggest breaking news stories of the day: 1) The 9th Circuit Court’s ruling on gay marriage in CA and 2) the Idaho Lt. Col.’s case against the military for “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.” Hoffman would give Dr. Harold Hill a run for his money. Transparency, indeed.
Question: Should Larry Craig be allowed to limit the kinds of questions he can be asked in public forums here in Idaho?
Former Idaho GOP Sen. Larry Craig began his radio talk-show gig Monday
saying it’s “very possible” that Republicans will win the U.S. House in
November and put the odds at even for winning the Senate. “If you
have a Republican House you stop Barack Obama and these liberal policies
in their tracks,” Craig said during the first hour of a 3-hour
guest-hosting appearance on KBOI-670. As for the Senate, Craig
predicted GOP pickups in Colorado, Delaware, Florida and Indiana, but
said, “It’s gonna be a push to take the Senate back over.”Craig, 65, said the upcoming election is among the most important in his lifetime/Dan Popkey, Idaho Statesman. More here. (AP/Lewiston Tribune file photo: Barry Kough; I couldn’t resist pulling out this fun miscue from the 2008 race)
Question: What do you make of Larry Craig’s prediction re: control of Congress after the 2010 elections?
Former Idaho GOP Sen. Larry Craig will be on KBOI-670 from 4 p.m. to 7 Monday, filling in for conservative host Nate Shelman. Craig will be joined by Wayne Hoffman, executive director of the Idaho Freedom Foundation, and formerly an Statesman political reporter and spokesman for former U.S. Rep. Bill Sali, R-Idaho. Shelman, who will be vacationing, said Craig will field phone calls and focus on politics, elections and the economy. Shelman said he doesn’t expect Craig to take questions about his 2007 conviction for misdemeanor disorderly conduct in connection with a sex sting in a men’s room at the Minneapolis airport/Dan Popkey, Idaho Statesman. More here.
Question: What question would you ask Larry Craig, if his airport bathroom escapade was off limits?