The #FEC lawsuit against former #Idaho Republican Sen. Larry Craig got a boost Thursday, as a federal judge denied Craig's bid to get the case dismissed.
In a 24-page decision, U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson concluded the Federal Election Commission has a case in arguing that Craig violated federal election laws when he used campaign funds for attorneys. Jackson said Craig's spending of campaign funds to defend himself on criminal charges amounted to improper conversion of funds, reasoning that "they cannot be characterized as ordinary and necessary expenses in connection with Senator Craig’s duties as an office holder."
Wrote the judge:
"Senator Craig was arrested for, and pled guilty to, committing a criminal violation of Minnesota state law. One does not need to be a United States Congressman – or any sort of federal official – to be charged with this offense, and the arrest did not call into question his conduct as a legislator."
The FEC case has its roots in the events of June 11, 2007, when Craig was arrested in the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, where he had stopped en route to Washington, D.C. He was charged with violating two Minnesota criminal statues: (1) disturbing the peace-disorderly conduct, and (2) interference with privacy. On August 8, 2007, Craig pled guilty to a misdemeanor count of disorderly conduct.
Between July 9, 2007 and October 5, 2008, the Craig Committee spent over $480,000 for legal fees and other expenses. At least $139,952 of this amount was paid to Sutherland, Asbill & Brennan, and $77,032 was paid to Kelly & Jacobson, in connection with the efforts to withdraw the guilty plea.