One of the most publicized events at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport is back in the news, with word that former U.S. Sen. Larry Craig is trying to characterize his sex-sting arrest in the airport bathroom as part of his official Senate business.
Craig used $217,000 in campaign funds to defend himself after the 2007 arrest, and now the Federal Election Commission says the campaign money was used for personal reasons must be paid back.
Craig’s response: His trip, which included the bathroom break, was part of his official duties because he was traveling to Washington, D.C., from his home in Idaho, with the stopover in the Twin Cities.
According to an AP story:
“He cites a U.S. Senate rule in which reimbursable per diem expenses include all charges for meals, lodging, hotel fans, cleaning, pressing of clothing — and bathrooms.”
” ‘Not only was the trip itself constitutionally required, but Senate rules sanction reimbursement for any cost relating to a senator’s use of a bathroom while on official travel,’ wrote Andrew Herman, Craig’s lawyer in Washington, D.C., in documents filed Thursday.”
During his bathroom break, an undercover officer arrested Craig, saying he’d indicated from a stall that he wanted sex. Craig pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct, then tried to withdraw the plea, but higher courts didn’t allow it.
For some time, the bathroom was an unofficial tourist site at the airport.