Right-wing Mormon Senator busted for DUI

Congressman Mike Crapo: He told voters he didn't drink because of his Mormon faith: He lied (AP)

Congressman Mike Crapo: He told voters he didn’t drink because of his Mormon faith: He lied (AP)

A conservative U.S. senator from Idaho who has said he doesn’t drink because of his Mormon faith has been charged with drunken driving.

Sen. Michael Crapo, a three-term Republican with a reputation as a social and fiscal conservative, registered a blood alcohol content of .11 percent after police pulled his car over in this suburb south of Washington, D.C., authorities said.

The 61-year-old lawmaker, who faces a court date Jan. 4, apologized in a statement issued hours after his arrest early Sunday.

“I am deeply sorry for the actions that resulted in this circumstance,” Crapo said in the statement Sunday night. “I made a mistake for which I apologize to my family, my Idaho constituents and any others who have put their trust in me. I accept total responsibility and will deal with whatever penalty comes my way in this matter.”

He also said he would take measures to ensure “this circumstance is never repeated.”

Crapo, who was elected in 1998 and is in his third Senate term, is expected to take over the top Republican spot next year on the Senate Banking Committee. He also serves on the Senate’s budget and finance panels and has been active on environmental and health issues. Crapo was a member of the so-called “Gang of Six” senators that worked in 2011 toward a deficit-reduction deal that was never adopted by Congress. He also served for six years in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Police in the suburb of Alexandria said Crapo was stopped early Sunday after his vehicle ran a red light. Police spokesman Jody Donaldson said Crapo failed field sobriety tests and was arrested at about 12:45 a.m. Sunday He was taken to the Alexandria jail and released on an unsecured $1,000 bond at about 5 a.m. Sunday.

“There was no refusal (to take blood alcohol tests), no accident, no injuries,” Donaldson said. “Just a traffic stop that resulted in a DUI.”

Police said Crapo, who was alone in his vehicle, registered a blood alcohol level of .11 percent. The legal limit in Virginia, which has strict drunken driving laws, is .08 percent.

In Virginia, the driver’s license of anyone who registers a blood alcohol level of .08 percent or higher is automatically suspended for seven days. A first-time conviction for DUI carries a mandatory, minimum $250 fine and license revocation for one year, according to the state Department of Motor Vehicles.

A Crapo spokesman declined to comment on the circumstances surrounding the arrest.

Crapo had told The Associated Press in past interviews that he abstains from drinking alcohol.

A Mormon who grew up in Idaho Falls, Idaho, Crapo was named a bishop in the church at age 31. He is an attorney who graduated from Brigham Young University and Harvard Law School. He has five children with his wife, Susan, and three grandchildren.

The Mormon church prohibits the use of alcohol, as well as coffee, tea and other substances. About one-quarter of Idaho residents are Mormon.

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Associated Press writers Norman Gomlak in Atlanta and Josh Lederman in Washington contributed to this report.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press

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7 Responses to "Right-wing Mormon Senator busted for DUI"

  1. Sandy Price  December 24, 2012 at 10:38 am

    The LDS Church forbids the consumption of any stimulant or depressant. What ever caused the DUI must have been a terrible shock when it was determined to be booze that caused it. My mother tried that excuse for 60 years. Smoking was also on the no fly list but mother denied that cigarettes neither stimulated nor depressed her in the least. We took my mother and all 4 of her brothers to AA meetings but none of them believed they had a drinking problem.

  2. Willie Buck Merle  December 24, 2012 at 12:04 pm

    Prob tied one on because of the “wear pants on Sunday” movement that their women do now.

  3. John W. Farley  December 24, 2012 at 5:13 pm

    In the text, Mr. Crapo is a Senator, but in the headline he’s a Congressman. Which is it?

    Awww, really, who cares? If you’ve seen one Idaho politician, you’ve seen them all.

  4. Stephen Douglas  December 24, 2012 at 7:27 pm

    Why is it the man’s faith, or his lack of living it, had to be mentioned? Has this medium ever mentioned someone else’s faith for similar charges? Any Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, or Muslim congressman/congresswoman ever been busted where their faith is mentioned?

    • Evan Hillman  December 26, 2012 at 4:36 pm

      It isn’t about his faith, but rather his hypocrisy. In that sense, it wouldn’t be any different if he said “I don’t ever eat chocolate because it is fattening,” and is seen munching a Hershey’s bar. What concerns me is that if he is lying about drinking, what else is he lying about? As I recall, Bill Clinton wasn’t impeached because of what he did, but because he lied about doing it.

  5. Pondering It All  December 25, 2012 at 3:22 am

    I wonder how that license suspension works if his license is from Idaho? People who work in D.C. can live in D.C., Virginia, or Maryland. If you are a renter and get your license suspended where you live, does it work to just move to one of the others and get a new license there?

  6. Jon  December 26, 2012 at 9:43 pm

    Must admit I am curious about the ‘circumstances’.

    There’s a difference between coming to a deserted intersection, looking both ways and slowly creeping through before the lights change*, and barrelling straight through a clearly red light in a high-traffic zone, complete with screeching tires and honking.

    There’s also ‘slipping through on a late yellow while not noticing the cop hiding out behind the 7-11 sign’, which I suspect is the most likely.

    As far as dragging his religion in, well, if you talk the talk, you’re expected to walk the walk, too. As E. Hillman pointed out, it’s not the ‘sin’, really, it’s the lying about it that is really the more pernicious crime.

    I read his response as ‘yah yah, whatever, I’ll just throw my lawyer at them and get a sweet deal while collecting sympathy by acting terribly repentant, besides, God loves me and He’ll forgive anything’, and his swearing to make sure ‘this circumstance never happens again’ as ‘I am learning to try a lot harder not to get caught’.

    Alternately, he drove perfectly lawfully, and a cop needed to make his quota, followed him around for awhile, cooked up something to pull him over for, and doctored the measuring instrument to ensure his bosses were happy.

    He’s innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. And we all know the law doesn’t treat anyone unequally *barf* *sorry*

    I’ll shut up again.

    J.

    * As a teenager, in an overbuilt yet deserted suburb of Denver, late one night a friend and I sat in the middle of a brightly lit two four-lane roads intersection and ate a pizza while the lights regularly changed over us. Probably not the best place, but it was amusing, and the only car we saw for half an hour was his, parked over there. J.

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