Sen. Larry Craig Just Won’t Go Away
Posted by shadmia on September 6, 2007
Like a computer virus, like a recurring nightmare, like terminal cancer, Sen. Larry Craig (R-Idaho) just won’t go away. Everyone thought they had heard the last from the disgraced Senator, who was charged with soliciting gay sex in a men’s room at the Minneapolis airport and pleaded guilty to charges arising from that incident. He made us believe that he was doing the best thing for his Party, the Congress, the Nation and himself by resigning from the Senate.
Larry Craig now expects us to believe that not only were his actions (in soliciting gay sex) misinterpreted but also his words. He never said he was going to resign, he said it was his intent to resign in what many took as his farewell speech in Boise, Idaho over the Labor Day weekend.
His spokesman, Dan Whiting, said Mr. Craig is fighting the ethics and misdemeanor charges “and should he be cleared before then, he may, and I emphasize may, not resign.”
The Senator has hired two sets of lawyers; one to fight the ethics charges in the Senate and the other to seek a withdrawal of his guilty plea in the sex solicitation charge. In seeking to have the Senate ethics charges thrown out, lawyers Stanley M. Brand and Andrew D. Herman wrote a letter to the committee stating that there is no precedent for a Senate ethics review of “purely personal conduct unrelated to the performance of official Senate duties.” Investigating such a complaint, they warned, would draw the Senate into “reviewing and adjudging a host of minor misdemeanors and transgressions” even if “minor or professionally irrelevant.”
“I don’t expect them to withdraw it,” Mr. Brand said in a telephone interview. “I expect the committee, which is an evenly split committee, to look at the precedents and to dismiss the complaint.”
The committee rules say it is authorized to “receive complaints and investigate allegations of improper conduct which may reflect upon the Senate, violations of law, violations of the Senate Code of Official Conduct, and violations of rules and regulations of the Senate, relating to the conduct of individuals in the performance of their duties as Members of the Senate, or as officers or employees of the Senate.”
The committee rejected Sen. Larry Craig’s lawyers argument with the following statement:
“Pending Sen. Craig’s resignation, the committee will continue to review this matter,” the committee’s senior senators wrote.
Tom Kelly, the lawyer chosen to tackle the guilty verdict entered by Craig, was in Minnesota, evidently preparing to file papers seeking to have the senator’s guilty plea withdrawn. Lawyers not involved in the case have said Craig faces a difficult challenge, pointing to Minnesota Rules of Criminal Procedure requiring that a defendant show a “manifest injustice” to withdraw a guilty plea. In Craig’s case, he voluntarily signed a plea agreement that included a provision stating that the court would not accept such a confession of guilt from anyone who believed himself innocent.
Whatever happens in his battles with Congress and the law, Sen. Craig has managed to enrage the GOP leadership, many of whom thought that this episode was already over. His change of heart apparently came after words of support from Sen. Arlen Specter who said he would like to see Craig “seek to withdraw the guilty plea, and fight the case.” Specter, a former prosecutor, said he believes the Idaho lawmaker could be vindicated. While on his way to give his “resignation” speech, Craig called one of his lawyers and left a Voicemail message indicating that he would modify his speech to include the phrase “intent to resign”.
He also got a boost from fellow Idaho Republican Senator, Mike Crapo who said: “I support whatever Larry does. Everybody has a right to try to vindicate themselves.” Several officials have said Crapo played a key role in last week’s events, serving as an intermediary of sorts between his home state colleague and Republicans in Washington eager to see Craig resign.
I don’t know if the Senator is under the delusion that, even if he gets his way in the Senate ethics committee and manages to have his guilty verdict withdrawn, all will be well again and he can just resume his Senate life as if nothing had ever happened. The truth of the matter is that he is, and always will be, under a cloud of doubt. His Republican buddies are not going to give him back his senatorial duties and the public will only see him as dishonorable gay Senator whose words and actions can not be trusted. Sen. Larry Craig, please do us all a favor and just go away!!