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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Eye On Boise

Court orders former Sen. Craig to pay $242K for tapping campaign funds for sex-sting defense

Here’s a news item from the Associated Press: BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Former U.S. Sen. Larry Craig has been ordered to pay $242,535 to the U.S. Treasury for improperly using campaign funds to cover legal expenses incurred after his arrest in a 2007 airport bathroom sex sting. U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson ruled Tuesday that Craig illegally converted campaign money as personal expenses while attempting to withdraw his guilty plea to one count of disorderly conduct. Jackson found that Craig's effort was personal and not connected to his duties representing Idahoans in Congress. Craig, meanwhile, argued that Senate rules allow reimbursements for any official travel costs. He says he was traveling between Idaho and Washington D.C. for work. However, the Federal Election Commission countered saying Craig violated campaign laws when he relied on donor dollars to cover his legal expenses.

You can read the judge's decision here, which runs 41 pages. In it, Berman Jackson writes that the sum Craig must pay consists of the "amount he was unjustly enriched" by tapping the campaign funds, $197,535, plus a court-imposed $45,000 penalty, "which the Court finds necessary and appropriate to punish defendants’ misconduct and to deter future misconduct by others."

Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Z. Russell joined The Spokesman-Review in 1991. She currently is a reporter in the Boise Bureau covering Idaho state government and politics, and other news from Idaho's state capital.

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