Craig Gets Slapped

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See Update below. Sen. Larry Craig has officially had his hand slapped.

The U.S. Senate Ethics Committee released a public letter of admonition on Wednesday, stating that committee members believe that Craig committed the notorious mens bathroom toe-tapping incident, and is only trying to withdraw his guilty plea because his attempt to avoid public disclosure backfired.

"Your claims to the court, through counsel, to the effect that your guilty plea resulted from improper pressure or coercion, or that you did not, as a legal matter, know what you were doing when you pled guilty, do not appear credible," states the admonition. "We consider you attempt to withdraw your guilty plea to be an attempt to evade the legal consequences of action freely undertaken by you."

The admonition is signed by six senators, including three Republicans and three Democrats. The decision was unanimous.

Craig was also called out for using campaign funds to pay his legal fees. While the committee agrees that the Senate ethics manual allows members to use funds for legal fees when in connection to their official duties, it must first be approved by the committee.

The admonition states that Craig never sought approval, and warns that if Craig uses any more campaign funds for his defense without committee approval, he will be "demonstrating your continuing disregard of ethics requirements."

The committee also took issue with Craig's attempt to use his business card to intimidate the arresting officer as "improper."

Apparently, committee members were none too pleased about Craig's lawyer questioning their jurisdiction to discipline Craig. "The disciplinary authority of the Senate of its members is broad," the admonition states.

In response to the public scolding, Craig released the following statement: "While I am disappointed and strongly disagree with the conclusions reached by the Senate Ethics Committee, from the outset I have encouraged the Committee to act in a timely fashion and they have done so. I will continue to serve the people of Idaho."

The admonition is not the end of the matter for Craig. His appeal of the Minnesota court judge's decision not to allow him to withdraw his guilty plea is still pending.

Check out the letter for yourself.

Update: The Idaho Democratic Party has finally come out and said it's time for Craig to go.

With new party chairman Keith Roark in charge, the party, which has been silent on the issue of Craig's position, has come out firing.

“Idahoans are not only shocked and embarrassed by the conduct of Larry Craig, they are dismayed by his response,” Roark said in a statement shipped to reporters today. “It is clear that Larry Craig intends to put his own self interest before the people of Idaho and their right to equal representation among the states.”

Roark said he's written a letter to Governor Butch Otter, U.S. Senator Mike Crapo, U.S. Representatives Simpson and Sali and all of the Republican candidates for Larry Craig’s Senate position urging them to prevail upon Sen. Craig to resign.

“It’s now time for Idaho’s Republican Party leaders to make their position known:  Are they going to support the people of Idaho, or are they going to support the tawdry self interests of Larry Craig?”             Chuck Oxley Communications Director, Idaho Democratic Party (208) 871-4976 (Cell)  

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