Larry Craig

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This is a profile of a former U.S. senator. (See all the Idaho portal for all incumbents, candidates and blogs.)
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Larry Craig currently served as the Sr. Senator for Idaho from 1991-2008

Larry Edwin Craig was the senior United States Senator from Idaho (map). He is a member of the Republican Party and was first elected to the Senate in 1990 and retired in 2008.

Contents

Record and controversies

Congressional scorecards

Click through the score to see the records of other members of Congress and full descriptions of the individual votes.

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Organization 2007 Scorecard
Score - Agree ratio
2008 Scorecard
Score - Agree ratio
American Civil Liberties Union not avail. not avail.
American Conservative Union 90 - 19/25 not avail.
AFSCME 0 - 0/7 not avail.
Americans for Democratic Action 15 - 3/20 15 - 3/20
Club for Growth not avail. not avail.
Drum Major Institute not avail. not avail.
Family Research Council 77 - 7/9 77 - 7/9
Information Technology Industry Council 100 - 5/5 100 - 5/5
League of Conservation Voters not avail. 9 - 1/11
National Association for the Advancement of Colored People not avail. not avail.
U.S. Chamber of Commerce 90 - 9/11 not avail.


Iraq War

Craig voted for the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq in Oct. 2002.

For more information see the chart of U.S. Senate votes on the Iraq War.

Environmental record

For more information on environmental legislation, see the Energy and Environment Policy Portal

Bio

Craig was born July 20, 1945 in Idaho, where he was raised and educated, earning a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Idaho in 1969. He was elected to the Idaho State Senate in 1974. By this time he was also a farmer and rancher.

He was a member of the Idaho State Senate until 1980, when he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, of which he was a member from 1981 until 1991. During his tenure as a member of the House of Representatives, he strongly supported the Balanced Budget Amendment and President Reagan's push to expand vocational education.

Craig's Senate biography states, "A forceful advocate for common sense, conservative solutions to our nation's problems, Senator Craig has emerged as a leader in the battle for the Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution, limited taxation, private property rights, and greater accountability in government. He has been recognized by national groups including Citizens for a Sound Economy, Citizens Against Government Waste, Watchdogs of the Treasury, and the National Taxpayers Union Foundation for his votes to cut spending and protect the taxpayer."[1]

"As a Westerner and a former rancher, Senator Craig plays a leading role in the formation of natural resource and energy policies, and he has gained a national reputation as a stalwart against environmental extremism. He is also one of America's foremost defenders of the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms."[2]

Arrest for lewd behavior

On August 27, 2007, a report by Roll Call revealed that Senator Craig had been arrested in June of that year for lewd behavior in an airport bathroom. On August 8, Craig pleaded guilty to misdemeanor disorderly conduct. He paid over $500 in fines and was given one year of probation beginning August 8.[1]

A spokesman for Craig commented that the incident was a simple “he said/he said misunderstanding.”[2]

In June, according to a plainclothes police officer, Craig sought to engage in lewd conduct with him in a men's public restroom. In his report, the officer wrote, "At 1216 hours, Craig tapped his right foot. I recognized this as a signal used by persons wishing to engage in lewd conduct. Craig tapped his toes several times and moves his foot closer to my foot. I moved my foot up and down slowly. While this was occurring, the male in the stall to my right was still present. I could hear several unknown persons in the restroom that appeared to use the restroom for its intended use. The presence of others did not seem to deter Craig as he moved his right foot so that it touched the side of my left foot which was within my stall area."[3]

Craig attributed the incident to a misunderstanding stating in the report that he had "a wide stance when going to the bathroom."[4]

Repercussions of the arrest

After news of his June arrest became public on August 27, Craig issued a statement saying that he regretted the guilty plea: "At the time of this incident, I complained to the police that they were misconstruing my actions. I was not involved in any inappropriate conduct. I should have had the advice of counsel in resolving this matter. In hindsight, I should not have pleaded guilty. I was trying to handle this matter myself quickly and expeditiously."[5] In a press conference on August 28, Craig stated that he only pleaded guilty because he wanted to keep the story quiet so as to avoid adding to what he called the Idaho Statesman's "witch hunt." He also stated, "Let me be clear: I am not gay. I never have been gay."[6]

The Idaho Statesman had been researching allegations of Craig's behavior for months but did not publish until the Roll Call article appeared. Craig referred to "vicious attacks" by the Statesman, during his press conference on August 28th.[7]

Craig also resigned his post as a Senate liaison (an organizing and fundraising position) for Mitt Romney's presidential campaign the day the story broke. Romney communications director Matt Rhoades stated, "Senator Craig has stepped down from his role with the campaign. He did not want to be a distraction and we accept his decision."[8]

On August 28, Senate Republican leaders issued a joint statement, saying none of them had been aware of Craig's legal trouble until August 27, the day the story hit the newspapers. They also called for the ethics committee to investigate the incident.[9] Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Minority Whip Trent Lott (R-Miss.) and three other GOP leaders wrote,

"This is a serious matter. Due to the reported and disputed circumstances, and the legal resolution of this serious case, we will recommend that Senator Craig's incident be reported to the Senate Ethics Committee for its review. In the meantime, leadership is examining other aspects of the case to determine if additional action is required."[10]

On August 29, Craig agreed to step down from his committee positions during the investigation of his June arrest, including his position as the top Republican on the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee. [11]

A statement from the GOP leadership read, “Senator Larry Craig has agreed to comply with Leadership’s request that he temporarily step down as the top Republican on the Veteran Affairs Committee, [Senate] Appropriations Subcommittee on the Interior, and [Senate] Energy and Natural Resources Subcommittee on Public Lands and Forests. This is not a decision we take lightly but we believe this is in the best interest of the Senate until this situation is resolved by the Ethics Committee.”[12]

Resignation

On September 1, 2007, Sen. Larry Craig announced that he would resign effective September 30. Craig stated "I am proud of my record and accomplishments," though continued that he could not continue serving without being a "distraction." Republican Governor Butch Otter had the power to appoint a replacement to serve the remainder of Craig's term. Former Governor Jim Risch (R) and Rep. Mike Simpson (R-Idaho) were both considered possible replacements.[13]

Possible reconsideration of resignation

On September 4, 2007, Sen. Larry Craig reconsidered his decision to resign. "The senator is examining a challenge to his guilty plea in Minnesota court that could alter his plans to step down," Craig spokesman Sidney Smith told the Associated Press. Although the decision was still up in the air, the intense coverage that Craig's arrest received led many to believe that his continued presence would be a distraction for Republican leaders. [14]

Surprise return to the hill

Sen. Larry Craig made an unexpected return to the Capitol 12 days before his likely resignation. He has vowed to reverse an Aug. 8 guilty plea after the gay sex sting arrest.Craig also dismissed assumptions that his return meant that he would not stick with his planned resignation date. “He is here representing Idaho, working on transition, and meeting with his legal team,” Craig spokesman Dan Whiting said. [15]

Will stay until court ruling

On September 26, 2007 Senator Larry Craig began his attempt to withdraw his guilty plea for disorderly conduct in a Minneapolis airport restroom. Hennepin County District Judge Charles A. Porter reacted skeptically to the bid and said that he would not rule on Craig’s request until the next week. Craig also softened his pledge to resign by the end of September if the case was not resolved, announcing that he would remain in office “for now.” Porter noted that Craig admitted in the August guilty plea that his behavior constituted a crime. Craig’s attorney, Billy Martin, argued that Craig did not consult a lawyer before making the plea. Martin argued that Craig’s actions were only “innocuous’ and that no contact rose to the level of disorderly contact. If Porter accepted the plea withdrawal and scheduled a trial on the original charges, Craig would fight the criminal charges and a Senate ethics investigation. Craig said that he would not seek reelection in 2008 regardless of the outcome of the criminal case.[16]

Will finish out term

Hours after a Minnesota judge denied Craig’s bid to withdraw a guilty plea in the bathroom sex sting scandal he said on October 4, 2007 that he would finish his full term before retiring. “As I continued to work for Idaho over the past three weeks here in the Senate, I have seen that it is possible for me to work here effectively,” said Craig in a statement, and he would try to “clear my name in the Senate Ethics Committee — something that is not possible if I am not serving in the Senate.”[17]

Judge Charles Porter of Minnesota’s Hennepin County court rejected Craig’s argument to withdraw the guilty plea in a 27-page order. Porter wrote that Craig’s admission of disorderly conduct in a Minneapolis airport bathroom “accurate, voluntary and intelligent, the conviction is supported by the evidence.” [18]

Craig said he is examining his options and fellow Idaho Sen. Mike Crapo (R) said he believed Craig planned to appeal the case. [19]

Republican leadership backed off earmark threats

Senate Republicans backed off from pressuring Craig to resign his seat, potentially allowing him to last long enough in Congress to save his career. Republican leaders chose not to threaten Craig by stripping over 20 spending projects he sponsored. Craig had argued that the projects showed his presence in the senate was valuable to his constituents. “Right now we are very much working to keep everything in place, and I’m pleased about the progress” Craig said about the millions of dollars in earmarks.[20]

Although pressured to resign earlier in the scandal, ranking Appropriations Committee member Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) said, of Craig, "He’ll be treated like all senators." Sen. Bob Bennett (R-Utah) said "The leadership is going to leave it up to the Ethics Committee."[21]

Craig’s name was attached to 84 earmarks in different annual spending bills and was the only sponsor of 22 projects. Seven of the projects, worth over $7 million, were in legislation crafted by the Appropriations Interior Subcommittee as Craig was the ranking Republican member. Bennet, a fellow subcommittee member, said "Why punish the state of Idaho if they have a perfectly legitimate project which their Senator has called to our attention?" [22][23]

Other than threatening Craig’s earmarks, little else could be done by Republican leaders to force his early retirement. A Republican aide said a lawmaker must resign a committee leadership position only if they are indicted for a felony, although Craig’s crime did not rise to that level. Leaders could call for the Senate to vote on Craig’s expulsion, but that would require 67 senators voting in favor. The aide said Craig’s misdemeanor crime did not rise to a grave enough level to reach such a high threshold. [24]

Admonished by Ethics Committee Colleagues for Conduct

The Senate Ethics Committee has publically admonished Craig as a result of his arrest and guilty plea last summer to inappropriate conduct in a men's bathroom in the Minneapolis airport. Colleagues expressed their disdain for the Senator's actions after the arrest and the impropriety of attempting to evade the legal consequences of his actions by withdrawing his guilty plea. Committee members also questioned the obscure transfer of $200,000 worth of funds from Craig's campaign money to help pay legal fees and denouncing it as unethical.[25]

The Committee administered its admonition to reflect the poor image that the Senate has suffered as a result of the scandal, and accused Craig of attemping to use his Senatorial status to receive special or favorable treatment, but did not take any further action beyond a public rebuke. Since the scandal, and numerous calls for Craig's resignation, the Senator has tried to return to serving in some semblance of normalcy with little avail.[26]

Court Ruling

A three judge panel in Minnesota Court of Appeals rejected Craig's attempt to withdraw his guilty plea in the disorderly conduct conduct case against him on Dec. 9, 2008. [27]

Retirement

Craig did not file for reelection by Idaho's March 22, 2008 deadline. As a result, Craig's three-term career in the U.S. Senate will apparently come to a halt at the end of the 110th Congress. Seven Republicans and one Democrat are seeking the seat in November.[28]

Money in politics

This section contains links to – and feeds from – money in politics databases. For specific controversies, see this article's record and controversies section.

Campaign contribution data could not be found.

Links to more campaign contribution information for Larry Craig
from the Center for Responsive Politics' OpenSecrets.org site.
Fundraising profile: 2008 election cycle Career totals
Top contributors by organization/corporation: 2008 election cycle Career totals
Top contributors by industry: 2008 election cycle Career totals

Committees and Affiliations

Committee assignments in the 110th Congress (2007-2008)

Committee assignments in the 109th Congress (2005-2006)

Coalitions and Caucuses

  • Chairman of the Republican Policy Committee from 1997 until 2003.
  • Western States Senate Coalition
  • Co-Chairman of the Congressional Coalition on Adoption
  • Co-founder and co-chair, Congressional Property Rights Coalition

Boards and Other Affiliatons

More Background Data

Contact

DC Office:
520 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510-1205
Phone:202-224-2752
Fax:202-228-1067
Web Email
Website

District Office- Boise:
225 North Ninth Street, Suite 530
Boise, ID 83702
Phone: 208-342-7985
Fax: 208-343-2458

District Office- Coeur d'Alene:
Harbor Plaza
610 Hubbard, Suite 121
Coeur d'Alene, ID 83814
Phone: 208-667-6130
Fax: 208-765-1743

District Office- Idaho Falls:
490 Memorial Drive, Suite 101
Idaho Falls, ID 83402
Phone: 208-523-5541
Fax: 208-522-0135

District Office- Lewiston:
313 D Street, Suite 106
Lewiston, ID 83501
Phone: 208-743-0792
Fax: 208-746-7275

District Office- Pocatello:
801 East Sherman Street, Room 193
Pocatello, ID 83201
Phone: 208-236-6817
Fax: 208-236-6820

District Office- Twin Falls:
560 Filer Avenue, Suite A
Twin Falls, ID 83301
Phone: 208-734-6780
Fax: 208-734-3905

Articles and Resources

Resources

Local blogs and discussion sites

References

  1. "Craig Arrested, Pleads Guilty Following Incident in Airport Restroom," Roll Call, August 27, 2007.
  2. "Craig Arrested, Pleads Guilty Following Incident in Airport Restroom," Roll Call, August 27, 2007.
  3. "Craig Arrested, Pleads Guilty Following Incident in Airport Restroom," Roll Call, August 27, 2007.
  4. "Craig Arrested, Pleads Guilty Following Incident in Airport Restroom," Roll Call, August 27, 2007.
  5. Susan Crabtree, "Craig regrets guilty plea involving bathroom incident," The Hill, August 27, 2007.
  6. Paul Kane, "Idaho Senator Asserts: 'I Never Have Been Gay'," Washington Post, August 29, 2007.
  7. Dan Popkey, "Men's room arrest reopens questions about Sen. Larry Craig," Idaho Statesman, August 28, 2007.
  8. Jonathan Martin, "Larry Craig's pro-Romney video taken down," The Politico, August 27, 2007.
  9. Paul Kane, "Idaho Senator Asserts: 'I Never Have Been Gay'," Washington Post, August 29, 2007.
  10. Paul Kane, "Idaho Senator Asserts: 'I Never Have Been Gay'," Washington Post, August 29, 2007.
  11. Josh Kraushaar, "Craig steps down from top committee posts," The Politico, August 29, 2007.
  12. Josh Kraushaar, "Craig steps down from top committee posts," The Politico, August 29, 2007.
  13. Elana Schor, "Sen. Craig resigns," The Hill, September 1, 2007.
  14. Elana Schor, "Sen. Craig is reconsidering his decision to resign," The Hill, September 5, 2007.
  15. Elana Schor, "Craig returns to the Hill," The Hill, September 19, 2007.
  16. Paul Kane, “Craig Begins Court Challenge,” “The Washington Post,” September 27, 2007.
  17. Elana Schor, “Despite ruling, Craig says he will finish out his term,” ‘’The Hill,’’ October 5, 2007.
  18. Elana Schor, “Despite ruling, Craig says he will finish out his term,” ‘’The Hill,’’ October 5, 2007.
  19. Elana Schor, “Despite ruling, Craig says he will finish out his term,” ‘’The Hill,’’ October 5, 2007.
  20. Alexander Bolton, "GOP will let Craig keep his earmarks," The Hill, November 1, 2007.
  21. Alexander Bolton, "GOP will let Craig keep his earmarks," The Hill, November 1, 2007.
  22. Alexander Bolton, "GOP will let Craig keep his earmarks," The Hill, November 1, 2007.
  23. "FY08 SENATE INTERIOR & ENVIRONMENT SPENDING BILL CONTAINS NEARLY 500% MORE EARMARKS THAN HOUSE VERSION," Taxpayers for Common Sense, July 3, 2007.
  24. Alexander Bolton, "GOP will let Craig keep his earmarks," The Hill, November 1, 2007.
  25. Carl Huse, "Senate Ethics Committee Admonishes Larry Craig," The New York Times, February 14, 2008.
  26. Carl Huse, "Senate Ethics Committee Admonishes Larry Craig," The New York Times, February 14, 2008.
  27. Appeals Court Rejects Craig's Attempt to Pull Back Guilty Plea in Sex StingWashington Post December 10, 2008. Accessed December 15, 2008
  28. Jeffrey Young, "Craig keeps promise to retire", The Hill, March 21, 2008

Articles

  • Joe Sudbay, AMERICAblog, August 29, 2007:

Wikipedia also has an article on Larry Craig. This article may use content from the Wikipedia article under the terms of the GFDL.


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