Monday, March 11, 2013

The $217,000 misdemeanor

Back in 2007, America was briefly distracted by the toilet habits of a senator from Idaho.  I am writing, of course, about Senator Larry Craig.  As Fox News points out, Mr. Craig introduced us all to the phrase "wide stance."

Senator Craig's stance became an issue when he was accused of soliciting gay sex at a bathroom at the Minneapolis/St. Paul airport.  The Senator quickly pleaded guilty to a disorderly conduct misdemeanor in what was evidently an attempt to resolve the incident with a minimum of publicity.

When that did not work, Senator Craig tried to withdraw his guilty plea.  The appeals on whether he could withdraw his guilty plea were unsuccessful and America promptly forgot about Senator Craig.  People in Idaho did not, of course.  In fact, this Fox News story points out that Senator Craig was inducted to the Idaho Hall of Fame after his guilty plea.  I know what you are thinking.  Idaho has a hall of fame?  Yes, it does.  Notable inductees include Chief Joseph and Gregory "Pappy" Boyington.  So perhaps we can all agree that Idaho's Hall of Fame offers contrasting views on what constitutes fame.

Surprisingly, it turns out that the issues regarding Senator Craig's guilty plea are still being litigated.  The Minneapolis Star Tribune has an article about a United States District Court proceeding in Washington D.C., in which Senator Craig is defending his decision to use campaign funds to pay for his "defense" of the misdemeanor.  More accurately, Senator Craig is using campaign contributions to pay for his attempts to withdraw his guilty plea.  But, as the kids say, whatevs.

Regardless of whether or not campaign contributions should have been used trying to undo the guilty plea, note the price of the unsuccessful attempt-$217,000.  Whatever the merits of using campaign contributions overturn his guilty plea, I think we can all agree that Senator Craig does not just have a wide stance, he has an expensive one too.

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