Sen. Larry Craig (R-ID) last week stepped down from key committee posts amid the fallout from his arrest by an undercover police detective investigating lewd conduct in a men’s restroom at the Minneapolis Airport. The embattled lawmaker was said to be on the verge of resigning from the Senate Friday, the New York Times reported.
“Sen. Larry Craig has agreed to comply with leadership’s request that he temporarily step down as the top Republican on the Veteran Affairs Committee, Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, and Energy and Natural Resources Subcommittee on Public Lands,” the Republican leadership said last Wednesday. “This is not a decision we take lightly, but we believe this is in the best interest of the Senate until this situation is resolved by the Ethics Committee.” .
In Craig’s work on energy issues, the senator has been a strong advocate of oil and natural gas drilling, next-generation nuclear facilities and hydroelectric plant licensing.
The decision to strip Craig of committee assignments came after prominent Republican Sens. John McCain of Arizona and Norm Coleman of Minnesota, where Craig was arrested for disorderly conduct, called for his resignation from the Senate. The calls for him to resign intensified by the end of last week.
“My opinion is that when you plead guilty to a crime, you shouldn’t serve. That’s not a moral stand. That’s not a holier-than-thou. It’s just a factual situation,” McCain told CNN.
Roll Call, a newspaper that covers Capitol Hill, broke the story last Monday about Craig’s arrest during an undercover police operation that was looking into reports of sexual misconduct in the airport’s men’s restroom. The senator was arrested in June and pleaded guilty to a charge of disorderly conduct in early August. He paid a fine of $500 and was put on probation.
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