A federal judge Tuesday ordered former senator Larry “Wide Stance” Craig (R-Idaho) to pay the U.S. Treasury $242,000 for improperly using campaign funds to pay for his legal defense after a 2007 sex-sting arrest in a Minneapolis airport bathroom.
Craig incurred the legal costs after seeking to withdraw his guilty plea to one count of disorderly conduct at the airport during a layover from a return flight to Washington from his home.
Loop Fans may recall our prior analyses of his trip to the bathroom. Best we were able to determine at the time — judging from what sources told us were the usual arrival and departure gates for his flights — Craig may have passed not one, not two, not three but four bathrooms at the airport along the way before choosing the very one that an airport official called “the biggest hotspot” for sexual encounters.
But we digress.
In the current legal action, Craig argued that Senate rules permit reimbursement for any costs while on official travel. But the Federal Election Commission filed suit, saying Craig converted the campaign funds for personal use in violation of the Federal Election Campaign Act. U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson of the District agreed.
“The Court finds that defendants violated the FECA when they converted campaign funds to pay for legal expenses related to Senator Craig’s efforts to withdraw his guilty plea, which was a personal matter that was not connected to the Senator’s duties as an officeholder,” Jackson wrote.
Watch our colleague Paul Kane’s video re-enactment of the event:
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