Larry Craig

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Larry Craig (born July 20, 1945) was a Republican United States Senator from the state of Idaho from 1991 to 2009. From 1981 to 1991 he represented Idaho in the United States House of Representatives. He is generally considered to be a social conservative and is also a strong advocate of the proposed Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution.

Early years

Senator Craig was born on the family ranch near Midvale, Idaho, which was homesteaded in 1899 by his grandfather. He later served as the Idaho State President and National Vice-President of the Future Farmers of America. Craig earned his B.A. at the University of Idaho in 1969 and did graduate work at George Washington University 1970. Craig has worked as a farmer and rancher and served in the Idaho senate from 1974–1980.

U.S. Senate

In 1974, the people of Payette and Washington counties sent Craig to the Idaho State Senate, where he served three terms before winning the 1980 race for Idaho's First District Congressional Seat. He was re-elected four times before winning the U.S. Senate election in 1990 and was re-elected to the Senate in 1996 and 2002. Senator Craig served as chairman of the Steering Committee, a legislative "think tank" and action group for Senate conservatives. He was the youngest senator ever elected to that position.

Craig quickly rose in the Senate leadership in his first term, when his colleagues elected him Chairman of the Republican Policy Committee. He was re-elected to that position in the 106th and 107th Congresses. The Committee is responsible for developing policy positions for Senate Republicans.

Craig has emerged as a leader for a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution, limited taxation, private property rights, and greater accountability in government. He has been recognized by national groups including Citizens for a Sound Economy, Citizens Against Government Waste, Watchdogs of the Treasury, and the National Taxpayers Union Foundation,

With his appointment to the Senate Appropriations Committee, Craig oversees funding on the following subcommittees: Agriculture, Rural Development, and Related Agencies; Energy and Water Development; Homeland Security; Labor, HHS, and Education; Military Construction and Veterans Affairs; and Interior and Related Agencies, where he serves as the Ranking Member. He is also a member of the Special Committee on Aging, which he chaired during the 107th and 108th Congresses, and the Committee on Environment and Public Works, where he serves on the Public Sector Solutions to Global Warming, Oversight, and Children's Health Protection Subcommittee and the Superfund and Environmental Health Subcommittee.

In addition to his committee memberships, Craig sits on a number of caucuses including: Air Force; Diabetes; Congressional Sportsmen's; Senate Sweetener; WTO for Farmers and Ranchers; Congressional Potato; National Congressional Award Board of Directors; Idaho Safe Kids Coalition (Honorary Co-Chair); the Western States Senate Coalition; Education Advisory Committee to the National Youth Leadership Conference. He serves as Co-Chairman of the Congressional Coalition on Adoption and helped to found and lead the CCAI, an institute working on adoption issues.

Craig is also on the Board of Directors of the National Rifle Association, the Alliance to Save Energy, and he co-founded and co-chairs the Congressional Property Rights Coalition.

Craig chaired the Senate Republican Policy Committee (1996-2003), the Special Committee on Aging (One Hundred Eighth Congress), and the Committee on Veterans� Affairs (One Hundred Ninth Congress).

Craig was dedicated spokesman on behalf of the people and economic base of Idaho who depend upon the timber and power industries. Many environmentalists believe his departure could be beneficial for ecological causes, such as salmon recovery, which may cause economic disruption and unemployment in a conservative "flyover" state.[1]

Airport incident

On June 11, 2007, Craig was arrested at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport in a sting operation aimed to entrap homosexuals.[2] Craig did not contest the charges so as to continue on his flight home to Idaho. He didn't consult a lawyer, and he never told family, friends, staff or colleagues about the incident. Craig returned to Minneapolis on August 8, 2007 and plead guilty to a charge of disorderly conduct.[3]

A few weeks after the plea the arrest story earned major press attention. Craig announced plans to withdraw his guilty plea and repeatedly denied claims that he was homosexual.[4] Craig hired two Washington criminal defense lawyers, Stan Brand, who has defended lawmakers before, and Billy Martin, whose most recent client was NFL quarterback Michael Vick. Craig also retained one of the capital's top public-relations experts, Judy Smith, who handled press for Monica Lewinsky and more recently for U.S. Rep. William Jefferson.[5] Craig received an unexpected boost in his withdrawal attempt when the ACLU lobbying organization filed a brief on his behalf.[6] Craig's attempt to withdraw the guilty plea was rejected by a Hennepin County District Court judge on October 4, 2007.

Former President Bill Clinton said on CNN's Larry King Live,

"Well, first of all, I think we ought to recognize that this is a very traumatic time for him and his family.... we should be hoping that he and his family can work through this ...I think that that is more important than the politics of this. The politics of this will have to be resolved by him and the Republicans in the Senate."

In February 2008, the Senate Ethics Committee[7] issued a public "letter of admonition" to Craig, charging him with "improper conduct," and unethical use of over $200,000 of his campaigning money for legal and other costs related to the airport incident.

Senator Craig served out the remainder of his term and retired in January 2009.[8]