A federal court is set to rule this week on whether ex-Sen. Larry Craig (R-ID) broke the law when he appropriated $216,000 in campaign funds to defend himself against an arrest for soliciting sex from an undercover police officer in an airport bathroom. According to McClatchy Newspapers, U.S. District Judge Amy Berman’s ruling in the case could have far-reaching implications in terms of what politicians accused of wrongdoing are allowed to do in their own defense.
At issue is the question whether U.S. senator-turned-lobbyist Craig was on “official business,” as his lawyers contend, when on June 11, 2007, he stole up outside Minneapolis-St. Paul Police Sgt. Dave Karsnia’s toilet stall and began to peer through the crack in the stall door, fondling his wedding ring in a way that indicated that he was a married man in search of quick, anonymous sex with another man.
If the judge finds that Craig was acting in his official capacity as U.S. senator when he took the stall adjacent to Karsnia’s and began to tap his foot and reach under the stall door to touch the officer, then Craig will be found to have been within his rights when he plundered his campaign treasury in an effort to stay out of jail. His legal team has argued that elected officials have typically used campaign funds for legal matters when finding themselves on the wrong side of the law.