Disgraced former Republican Sen. Larry Craig (ID) who was caught and arrested in a 2007 airport bathroom sex sting, lost his appeal in a federal court on Friday on weather or not he improperly used campaign funds to pay for his legal defense.
Craig was arrested at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport in 2007 after an undercover police officer said the lawmaker tapped his foot to signal under the bathroom stall that he wanted sex.
The federal appeals court upheld a lower court decision that said Craig must reimburse the government $197,535 and pay a civil penalty of $45,000 for violating federal election laws.
Craig originally pleaded guilty and paid a fine. But after news of the incident leaked, (no pun intended) Craig insisted that he “overreacted and made a poor decision” and that his actions were misconstrued and he was not gay . Craig them began a long unsuccessful legal fight to reverse his plea using money from campaign accounts.
In the appeal Craig argued that using the funds were permitted under Senate rules allowing reimbursements for official travel costs because he was traveling between Idaho and Washington for work.
But a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit said the legal allegations against Craig “did not concern the senator’s campaign activities or official duties.”
“The legal fees he expended trying to withdraw his plea constituted personal use,” Chief Judge Merrick Garland said.
In 1982 allegations of cocaine use and sex with male teenage congressional pages by unnamed congressmen were pursued by investigators and journalists in 1982.[ Craig issued a statement denying involvement. Craig stated “Persons who are unmarried as I am, by choice or by circumstance, have always been the subject of innuendos, gossip and false accusations. I think this is despicable.”