Idaho senator rebuked by ethics panel

Feb. 14, 2008 at 1:35 AM

WASHINGTON, Feb. 14 (UPI) -- The U.S. Senate Ethics Committee said Wednesday Sen. Larry Craig, R-Idaho, acted improperly in a 2007 police sex sting in a Minneapolis airport restroom.

However, while the Senate panel "publicly admonished" Craig in a letter, it administered no formal punishment, The Washington Post reported. In closing out the matter, the committee said Craig's actions have "reflected discreditably on the Senate."

"I am disappointed and strongly disagree with the conclusions" of the committee," Craig said.

The Idaho Republican initially indicated he would resign after word leaked he had pleaded guilty last August to a misdemeanor disorderly conduct charge following his arrest in June for allegedly signaling an interest in a sexual encounter to an undercover police officer in the next toilet stall at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. However, he later backed off and now intends to complete his term, which expires next January.

Craig, who also stated he is not gay, took steps to have his guilty plea rescinded, But the committee said it considered that "an attempt to evade the legal consequences of an action freely undertaken by you -- that is, pleading guilty."

Craig also was cited by the six-member panel for using more than $213,000 from his campaign committee to pay legal expenses in the case without getting permission from the committee.

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