Larry Craig’s bathroom problem

Idaho Sen. Larry Craig is a conservative Republican who has voted against gay marriage and opposes hate crimes legislation that would extend special protections to gay and lesbian crime victims.

In the wake of Craig’s guilty plea on misdemeanor charges stemming from complaints of lewd conduct in a men’s restroom at the Minneapolis airport, his political future is in question.

The three-term senator, who has represented Idaho in Congress for more than a quarter-century, is up for re-election next year. He hasn’t said if he will run for a fourth term in 2008 and was expected to announce his plans this fall.

A spokesman, Sidney Smith, was uncertain late Monday if Craig’s guilty plea would affect his re-election plans.

“It’s too early to talk about anything about that,” Smith said.

A political science professor in Idaho said Craig’s political future was in jeopardy. And a spokesman for the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee, Hannah August, said Craig’s guilty plea “has given Americans another reason not to vote Republican” next year.

The married Craig, 62, has faced rumors about his sexuality since the 1980s, but allegations that he has engaged in gay sex have never been substantiated. Craig has denied the assertions, which he calls ridiculous.

The arrest changes that dynamic, said Jasper LiCalzi, a political science professor at Albertson College of Idaho in Caldwell, Idaho. He cited the House page scandal that drove Florida Rep. Mark Foley from office.

“There’s a chance that he’ll resign over this,” LiCalzi said. “With the pressure on the Republican Party, he could be pressured to resign. If they think this is going to be something that’s the same as Mark Foley — the sort of ‘drip, drip, drip, there’s more information that’s going to come out’ — they may try to push him out.”

Already Craig has stepped down from a prominent role with Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign. He had been one of Romney’s top Senate supporters, serving as a Senate liaison for the campaign since February.

“He did not want to be a distraction and we accept his decision,” said Matt Rhoades, a Romney campaign spokesman.

According to a Hennepin County, Minn., court docket, Craig pleaded guilty to a disorderly conduct charge on Aug. 8, with the court dismissing a charge of gross misdemeanor interference to privacy.

The court docket said Craig paid $575 in fines and fees and was put on unsupervised probation for a year. A sentence of 10 days in the county workhouse was stayed.

Roll Call, a Capitol Hill newspaper, which first reported the case, said on its Web site Monday that Craig was arrested June 11 by a plainclothes officer investigating complaints of lewd conduct in a men’s restroom at the airport.

Minneapolis airport police declined to provide a copy of the arrest report after business hours Monday.

Roll Call, citing the report, said Sgt. Dave Karsnia made the arrest after an encounter in which he was seated in a stall next to a stall occupied by Craig. Karsnia described Craig tapping his foot, which Karsnia said he “recognized as a signal used by persons wishing to engage in lewd conduct.”

Roll Call quoted the Aug. 8 police report as saying that Craig had handed the arresting officer a business card that identified him as a member of the Senate.

“What do you think about that?” Craig is alleged to have said, according to the report.

Craig said in a statement issued by his office Monday that he was not involved in any inappropriate conduct.

“At the time of this incident, I complained to the police that they were misconstruing my actions,” he said. “I should have had the advice of counsel in resolving this matter. In hindsight, I should not have pled guilty. I was trying to handle this matter myself quickly and expeditiously.”

Craig joins other GOP senators facing ethical and legal troubles.

Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, is under scrutiny for his relationship with a contractor who helped oversee a renovation project that more than doubled the size of the senator’s home.

Sen. David Vitter, R-La., acknowledged that his phone number appeared in records of a Washington-area business that prosecutors have said was a front for prostitution.

Craig, a rancher and a member of the National Rifle Association, lives in Eagle, Idaho, near the capital of Boise. He was a member of the House for 10 years before winning election to the Senate in 1990. He was re-elected in 1996 and 2002.

Last fall, Craig called allegations from a gay-rights activist that he’s had homosexual relationships “completely ridiculous.”

Mike Rogers, who bills himself as a gay activist blogger, published the allegations on his Web site, http://www.blogactive.com, in October 2006.

Matt Foreman, executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, an advocacy group, on Monday called Craig a hypocrite.

“What’s up with elected officials like Senator Craig? They stand for so-called family values and fight basic protections for gay people while furtively seeking other men for sex,” Foreman said.

___

Associated Press writers Steve Karnowski in Minneapolis and John Miller in Boise contributed to this story.

27 Responses to "Larry Craig’s bathroom problem"

  1. Elmo  August 28, 2007 at 2:16 pm

    He was tapping his foot?

    Was he tapping out Morse code?

    Was he tapping out the drum part to “I Got Rhythm”?

    What would they have charged him with if he was humming, whistling, or playing the harmonica? Or the bagpipes?

  2. nuQler Ostrich  August 28, 2007 at 3:26 pm

    QUOTE: “He’s a Bad Boy, a Naughty Boy,… probably even a nasty, bad, naughty boy.”

    Larry Craig on Meet the Press, January 24, 1999, talking about, you guessed it… Bill Clinton.

    Oh, the irony!

  3. VietnamVet  August 28, 2007 at 4:11 pm

    Well, he seems to know all about Clinton, huh? I wonder if the Senator would come out and tell us whether he was fishing to be on the giving or receiving end of this episode had it been successful? At least, Clinton was hetrosexual with his experiences. Not to critize those who are not, but it sure is hypocritical of the senator to mention Clinton, while HE himself is/was hiding in the closet.

  4. LurkingFromTheLeft  August 28, 2007 at 8:13 pm

    He’s from Idaho…

    …and has a secret addiction to native cuisine – trouser trout –

    …but he’s not gay –

    …he just thought this would all go away –

    …damned Idaho Statesman newspaper for hounding him –

    …probably have the mud ready too –

    LFTL

  5. gene  August 28, 2007 at 9:49 pm

    Lets see…we have a moral, political and financial implosion happening in parallel….so I would suspect as the stock market slides into a blackhole and we continue to see the sickness, lies and make believe exposed in this nation the phrase “THE END” is becoming very meaningful.

  6. SEAL  August 28, 2007 at 10:54 pm

    This one is hiding is a stall is public restroom soliciting total strangers he knows nothing about and, in this case, can’t even see. That’s about as low as you can be on the rungs of those hiding their homosexuality isn’t it? It’s also the riskiest in many respects and certainly the dumbest. Did anyone ask him what he was doing at the airport?

    I’m just happy he ran into an honest cop who would not be impressed by a US senator or the threatening hissy he had and just slapped the cuffs on. Too bad they could not charge him with the Lewd part. He’s lucky it wasn’t resisting arrest. That’s a felony.

    Today I received notice of selection for federal jury duty. I hope I get lucky and sit on one of the juries for some repugnat asshole that will eventually be charged with something. “Oh sure, Mr defense Lawyer, I can keep an open mind.”

  7. Jerry  August 29, 2007 at 2:30 am

    “This one is hiding i[n] a stall i[n] a public restroom soliciting total strangers he knows nothing about and, in this case, can’t even see. That’s about as low as you can be on the rungs of those hiding their homosexuality isn’t it?”

    Are you talking about the police officer, SEAL? I agree.

    Hiding in a washroom to see how many gays you can arrest is about as low as a police officer can get.

    The Minneapolis police department surely has better things to do with its resources than have its officers sitting in toilet stalls, soliciting strangers.

  8. SEAL  August 29, 2007 at 2:59 am

    Some More to this story:

    According to the local newspaper there have been rumors about the senator’s sex orientation since the 1980’s but never anything concrete about activities.

    The official police complaint on Craig’s case was detailed.

    It said airport police Sgt. Dave Karsnia, who was investigating allegations of sexual conduct in airport restrooms, went into a stall shortly after noon on June 11 and closed the door.

    Minutes later, the officer said he saw Craig gazing into his stall through the crack between the door and the frame.

    After a man in the adjacent stall left, Craig entered it and put his roller bag against the front of the stall door, “which Sgt. Karsnia’s experience has indicated is used to attempt to conceal sexual conduct by blocking the view from the front of the stall,” said the complaint, which was dated June 25.

    The complaint said Craig then tapped his right foot several times and moved it closer to Karsnia’s stall and then moved it to where it touched Karsnia’s foot. Karsnia recognized that “as a signal often used by persons communicating a desire to engage in sexual conduct,” the complaint said.

    Craig then passed his left hand under the stall divider into Karsnia’s stall with his palm up and guided it along the divider toward the front of the stall three times, the complaint said.

    The officer then showed his police identification under the divider and pointed toward the exit “at which time the defendant exclaimed `No!'” the complaint said.

    The Aug. 8 police report says Craig handed the arresting officer a business card that identified him as a member of the Senate.

    “What do you think about that?” Craig is alleged to have said, according to the report.

    It’s obvious what he thought about it > Whoopie! A big fish.

    BTW: I agree that having cops out trying to catch people engaging in any kind of sexual activity is absolutely the lowest form of law enforcement and should be abolished.

    In fact, the recent supreme court decision in Lawrence v Texas nullified all state laws against sodomy and established the right to all “private sexual conduct.” Therefore, public solicitation for sex to be conducted in private could not be a crime, either. I guess that is why he wasn’t charged with that. Now, the homophobes will call it disorderly conduct? What can I say?

  9. Jerry  August 29, 2007 at 4:30 am

    Now that’s fun, SEAL. Thanks for the additional detail, which I hadn’t read anywhere else. Hmmm. Seems like Senator Craig was doing rather more than a shoe shuffle.

    Still, his public statement is true — he is not gay. Being “gay” involves being comfortable in public with one’s sexual orientation. Clearly Craig is not.

    Will he go on record as saying, “I am not a closeted homosexual and never have been” ?

    But when all is said and done, I still find it wrong that a large-city police force spends resources on attempting to entrap such pathetic characters. There are murders, rapes, drug sales, and potential terrorism, but Minneapolis cops are reduced to checking out whether “he tapped his feet.” Surely they have better things to do than sit in toilet stalls?

    “Daddy, what did you do in the war?”

  10. SEAL  August 29, 2007 at 4:47 am

    Jerry asks:

    Will he go on record as saying, “I am not a closeted homosexual and never have been” ?

    He has done that. The senate is conducting their inquiry to see if any further action by them is warranted for his breaking the law and pleading guilty to disorderly conduct. But we know what they will really be looking for.

  11. Sandra Price  August 29, 2007 at 7:14 am

    I realize we set up sting operations to catch child molesters and I feel this may be setting up some innocent people. The ones shown on NBC are obviously guilty or they wouldn’t be shown on national television.

    I also realize that for many years our Congress was safe from traffic tickets and other problems but I fear that this last Craig mess could be a start to partisan spying for political reasons.

    This whole situation with Craig reminds me of the days of the Inquisition where innocent people were tortured to confess just to make the inquisitioners look good.

    The GOP has turned into a modern day inquisition and it should be stopped. Shut up, you hypocrites and let’s get this damn war over with. Until the GOP gives up this nasty attitude about being morally superior we should never vote for another one.

    We have seen the true colors of the Conservatives and how they are so careful to bring other social conservatives into our government and yet fail to live up to their holy reputations. This is just another reason not to vote for a Republican in 2008 as one more social conservative Supreme Court Justice will turn America into a hateful bunch of Salem Witch hunters. Please…..no Huckabee, no Romney….no GOP in the White House. I don’t even trust Ron Paul. No more hypocrites!

    If the Republican Party can stop this assault on our lives, and can get back to a limited government with all individual and natural rights restored, maybe.

  12. jasonla  November 19, 2008 at 11:16 am

    Why couldnt he be normal and just go get any prostitute or escort then knocking on stall walls. I head up to canada for montreal escorts anytime i want a good time, spitzer had his girl. How nasty to be checking out public bathrooms.

  13. tshell  December 5, 2008 at 2:34 pm

    public bathrooms? at least he wasn’t toting around a seattle porta potty and holding hands with his lover…

  14. traffic101  December 11, 2008 at 5:25 am

    This sounds terrible.lol.Well its their own rights.

    Tampa portable toilets

  15. tiberiu  February 9, 2009 at 2:29 pm

    Didn’t you hear about our political leaders? There was a recent scandal with the escort agencies in London. They seem to be under a lot of stress and they needed some relaxation… that kind of relaxation.

  16. Clarissa  February 9, 2009 at 7:36 pm

    In a way, I feel sorry for the guy. I mean Larry Craig probably just hasn’t me the right woman. I mean what kind of woman would date or marry this guys in Washington? Take a clue from Elliot Spitzer, but be smarter. Do it out of the country. Montreal is very close by and you can have your fun legally with so many beautiful French Canadian Montreal Escorts.

    Montreal Escorts

  17. Clarissa  February 9, 2009 at 7:39 pm

    I should also mention that are no legal issues – Canada is far more open minded about this stuff and if Larry was in Canada, this would barely have made the news.
    Montreal Escorts

  18. gene  August 28, 2007 at 8:47 am

    Well to say this country is falling apart from top to bottom would be putting it mildly. Its blowing apart. Added to this political halestorm is a global financial implosion fixing to make the (1929 depression) look like good times.

    Keep your KY ointment close at hand and practice bending over a few times. Nothing like being prepared.

  19. bryan mcclellan  August 28, 2007 at 9:50 am

    I’m surprised he didn’t claim to be on a fact finding mission or auditioning for tap school.NOW PLAYING,Politicians Versus Piety, the next off Broadway hit.Starring ,The Moral Majority Players, Cameos by Washingtons biggest movers and shakers,with a special performance by the committee to further promote Hypocrisy in Government. Tickets available at your local OutHouse vendors or at the doors of the Capitol building.

  20. Steve Horn  August 28, 2007 at 9:52 am

    So another bombastic, gay bashing Republitard is caught attempting to find sexual gratification with another man – ahh how the mighty members of the moralist wing are falling.

    I wonder if “W” is going to describe Larry as another fine, moral man of the people being dragged through the mud?

    When are the Zombies of this nation going to wake up and start giving a damn about their country? If he lied about something as simple and, well, meaningless as his sexuality it makes you wonder what other bullshit he was spreading on more important, vital topics ….

    Steve

  21. www.nazilieskill.us  August 28, 2007 at 11:40 am

    A powerful blockhead and phony. Maybe this Nazi will find Jesus like all the others.

    John Hanks, Laramie, Wyoming

  22. Steve Horn  August 28, 2007 at 11:58 am

    Ok – this is going to offend some and make others spit coffee at their computers while falling out of their seats – many apologies in advance – but …

    Craig wasn’t really doing anything wrong – he was just trying to get his shit packed before the flight –

    There – I said it – I’m preparing to go down in flames ….

    Steve

  23. gene  August 28, 2007 at 9:41 pm

    Steve have you lost your mind? Am I missing something here?

    Your comments are always excellent so I have got to be missing your point.

  24. neondog  August 28, 2007 at 12:19 pm

    Stop the LIBERAL MEDIA PRESSES!!!!
    Could you imagine a Democrat Senator being ticketed for jay-walking and not making headlines.

    Seems to me the rest of the story is who was hiding this and why.

    The arrest occurred on June 11th, the conviction on August 8th and here we are at the end of August and the media is just now reporting on this….

    What the **ck, who’s ducks needed to get in row?

    Yo..Capitol Hill Blues…how a bit of “journalistic” investigation?

  25. douin  August 28, 2007 at 12:54 pm

    Now we are beginning to get a clearer understanding exactly why the Republicans in the Senate and House always seem to vote in a bloc. No one wants to be ‘outed’ and lose their plush seat at the very height of importance.

    What these egotistic men have yet to learn is that what goes Up has to come Down, sooner or later. I’m sure not saying that Democrats are any less hypocritical than their counterparts , as I doubt if that is the case. It just proves once again that you cannot judge what is inside a package by it’s fancy wrappings.

  26. MA  August 28, 2007 at 1:08 pm

    It is no wonder understanding how the treasonous actions our Congress has taken in light of such depravity. They all must go if there is any hope of restoring our republic.

  27. allan hirsh  August 28, 2007 at 1:49 pm

    mr. hirsh
    Maybe they can blame Clinton for this one too. Or poor Michael Vick. Or Attorney Gonzales who died for your sins. You see, the air was so hot and heavy, gism all around, Craig had to have been pulled into it. Like this councilwoman in Seattle who keeps getting in trouble and blaming the other drunken driver, or her husband, or the bus driver.(in today’s Seattle P-I) Or, maybe Craig’ll resign and go into the Republican Resignation Hall of Fame.

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