Remember Larry Craig, the Republican lawmaker who was caught in a Minnesota airport bathroom trolling for anonymous gay sex? You don’t? Allow me to refresh your memory.
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.
According to Larry right after he was nabbed for the incident, it wasn’t his fault he’d “accidentally” solicited the person in the stall next to him for an afternoon delight. He merely held a “wide stance” when he did his business, and it’s not his fault that his foot accidentally grazed the foot of his neighbor. After accepting that his secret shame had been revealed to the voters of Minnesota, who went on to elect such luminaries as Michele Bachmann and Al Franken, Craig pled guilty to disorderly conduct, a plea that he, apparently, immediately regretted. Because, it turns out, he enlisted a team of lawyers to help him reverse it, to the tune of $242,000, a healthy sum he happily paid out from his campaign coffers.
Which is illegal.
Which is why he’s back in the news.
And which is why he now owes the taxpayers of this country almost a quarter million.
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…
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.
Craig isn’t necessarily wrong that Congressmen are allowed to use some of their campaign money to defend themselves in court but only if the case pertains directly to their campaigns or official duties. Strangely enough, the judge in this case did not seem to believe that trolling for gay sex in an airport bathroom on a layover qualifies as an act taken in the line of official duty. So, Larry Craig now has to pony up. Or step it up. Or tap it up. Or whatever Larry Craig does nowadays.