Craig Defends Use Of Campaign Funds For Criminal Defense After Bathroom Arrest

Former Senator Larry Craig is back in the news. The former Idaho Senator was once a critic of those who wanted to live off the government or bureaucrats seeking more money from federal coffers. However, his lawyers are in court this week defending his use of $217,000 in campaign funds to pay for criminal defense after he was arrested in a Minneapolis airport bathroom soliciting sex. He insisted that he was still doing on public business at the time. Of course, the police alleged it was public business of a different kind, but Craig says that such travel was part of Senate business because he was traveling between Washington and Idaho on July 11, 2007.

The Federal Election Commission has sued Craig and argues that this is not what donors had in mind when they gave to his campaign. Craig does not claim it was part of a campaign but rather part of his role as a member of the Senate. He notes that the U.S. Senate rules allow for reimbursement for per diem expenses that include all charges for meals, lodging, hotel fans, cleaning, pressing of clothing — and bathrooms. His lawyer argues that “[n]ot 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.”

Craig’s claim brings to mind the recent case discussed on this blog of the woman who was able to collect worker’s compensation when injured in a sexual tryst in a hotel after the court found that it was a natural part of traveling on business.

I can understand the argument up to a point, but it is the criminality involved in the Craig trip that produces the logical disconnect. Under this logic, Craig could have robbed the Starbucks at the airport and used campaign funds in his defense. In the same fashion, there remains a difference between kissing babies and child molestation as part of a political trip. The former is a standard of politicians while the latter is a felony. Likewise, there is a difference between “pressing the flesh with voters” and . . . well you get the idea.

Craig has created a consulting firm called New West Strategies with his former chief of staff, Mike Ware, that works on energy issues. His bio wisely omits the reason for his leaving the Senate. Instead it heralds how “as a westerner and former rancher, he has gained a national reputation as a stalwart against environmental extremism.” Well, that is not quite the national and international reputation that most people would cite for Larry Craig.

Source: USA Today

23 thoughts on “Craig Defends Use Of Campaign Funds For Criminal Defense After Bathroom Arrest”

  1. Just got back from Boise. They’ve got lots of range fires going there presently. Kind of difficult to get to the summer playgrounds of Cambridge and McCall.

    They’re selling Five Wives vodka in Idaho now. Costs $19.95 a bottle.

  2. Never trust a politician with two first names for first and last. He could just as well be Craig Larry. Crook from Idaho. RepubliCon. Rooting for the Willard.

  3. His argument is specious; a common wage slave or low level Federal employee would have to wait for the judge to stop laughing before getting a ruling from same but we aren’t dealing with little people or simple travel reimbursement. For little people not all travel associated expenditures are repaid and the definition of ‘doing business and ‘business related’ are clearly defined.

    In the recent hooker scandal involving the Secret Service if the travel regs were applied those men would have to pay for their own lawyers, there would be no shield regarding travel or ‘business related’ or ‘in the normal course of business’. There is a lot of latitude in who pays for a lawyer if you’re a Federal employee, so much so that specific insurance is available for employees to buy if they feel they may have legal problems arise out of their employment that their agency may not be required to supply legal help for. Craig is hoping his previous status gets him off the hook.

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