Top of the Ticket

Political commentary from Andrew Malcolm

« Previous Post | Top of the Ticket Home | Next Post »

BREAKING NEWS: Senator arrested in airport restroom

Sen. Larry Craig of Idaho was arrested by a plainclothes police officer investigating complaints of lewd conduct in a men's restroom at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, according to a report just issued by Roll Call.

The report said the incident happened just after noon on June 11.

A spokesman for Craig, a Republican, called the incident a "he said/he said misunderstanding." Later, Craig denied he had engaged in any "inappropriate conduct" and said police had misunderstood his actions. A full story by The Times' Richard Simon appears here on this website and in Tuesday's print editions.

But according to Roll Call, Craig, who is married with three grown children, pleaded guilty on Aug. 8 to a misdemeanor disorderly conduct charge in Hennepin County District Court and paid more than $500 in fees and fines. A 10-day jail sentence was stayed and a one-year probation imposed.

According to the police report obtained by Roll Call, Sgt. Dave Karsnia of the airport police was investigating a men's room where frequent arrests have been made for sexual activity. Soon after the plainclothes officer took a seat in a stall, he noticed "an older white male with gray hair standing outside my stall." He peered through a crack in the door for two minutes before entering the adjacent stall.

The officer reported that Craig tapped his right foot, "a common signal used by persons wishing to engage in lewd conduct." Craig allegedly moved his right foot so that it touched the officer's left foot. When the officer flashed his badge beneath the stall wall, Craig reportedly exclaimed, "No!" The officer informed him he was under arrest and took him for 45 minutes of interrogation and photographing.

At one point during that session, Craig allegedly passed over a business card identifying him as a U.S. senator and said, "What do you think about that?"

During a tape-recorded interview the officer reported Craig "either disagreed with me or 'didn't recall' the events as they happened." At one point Craig reported he reached down to pick up a piece of paper, but the officer said there was none on the floor.

In October 2006, Craig's office publicly denied allegations that he was a homosexual made by a gay activist website, calling it "completely ridiculous" with "no basis in fact."

A spokesman for the Mitt Romney campaign announced today that Craig had stepped down from his role in that effort.

The Roll Call article by John McArdle is available online only to subscribers.

--Andrew Malcolm

Comments () | Archives (34)

The comments to this entry are closed.

So typical of these freaks!

Police should be busy looking for the 12 million illegal immigrants wandering around the country instead of wasting time on gay senators.

Here in Idaho, the rumor that Craig is gay has long been circulated. This is a very powerful, conservative man who constantly puts his conservative agenda ahead of the people's wishes.

Another Republican Senator that is going to "retire to spend more time with my family." Love it. Can't get enough of it!

I don't get what is so disorderly about using signals that are a precursor to actual disorderly conduct. I'm all for Gay GOP's getting arrested for being pervs but I don't see why he was arrested without actually doing anything illegal, or saying that he was about to do something illegal. Police can arrest you for doing anything out of the norm and call it "disorderly conduct". The cops are just as corrupt as the politician they arrested.

I'm a Democrat who doesnt much care for Republicans and I dont care one bit if he's gay - to me it is essentially a private matter - can he lead the state of Idaho? (I haven't a clue, never heard of him)

Hmmmm .... now how can we pin this on Bill Clinton???

I suppose the biblical punishment of death by stoning is appropriate in this situation.

so if i start tapping my foot in a bathroom stall i can be arrested for lewd behavior? thats ridiculous. if this guy was kneeling with his penis exposed under the stall, well thats pretty lewd, but a mere foot tap? this is kinda scary. makes me not want to use public bathrooms. god knows what else might be "a common signal used by persons wishing to engage in lewd conduct." next thing you know a loud cough will be a sign you want to get busy with the guy in the next stall. poor guy. im sure hes on the DL, but really is that all it takes to charge someone?

Senator Craig has a very long and consistent anti-gay voting record.
If it helps gay people, Senator Craig is against it.
Ironically, Senator Craig is gay.
As a gay man myself I consider Senator Craig akin to a Jewish Nazi.

How is someone supposed to know tapping their foot meant they want to engage in misconduct??? Most people would never guess at this one!

The private sex lives of public figures is fair game, especially when you have the following two factors involved:

1. The public figure has a long history of voting against the rights and interests of gay men, lesbians, bi-sexual and transgendered individuals in America, and

2. The public figure solicits sex in a public place.

In short, the guy is a hypocrite whose homophobia is a form of self-loathing. I can sympathize with his personal struggle and wish him well in resolving it, but I will not tolerate an elected official who votes against my rights and interests, while at the same time being a closeted member of "my tribe."

They condemned the capos in the camps, and the same applies here. Let him now answer to his constituents.

OMG! I was on a bus once, and this guy was listening to his iPOD and tapping his RIGHT foot. It was standing room only. At one point his right foot touched my left foot. I didn't report the lewd conduct. I'm sooooo ashamed.

The "Log cabin" MUST be filling up!

This man has had these type of rumors surrounding him for some time. Put two and two together and call it what it what it is. Seriously Folks....

Hey Bob of North Smithfield - now you can understand what an uncle Tom is

It's the modern version of McCartheyism

The Republican mantra, watch what I say, not what I do! It is time to start measuring politicians by their actions.

The problem with people like Larry Craig is that they've been so repressed in the conservative areas they come from that, rather than accepting themselves and living life as well-adjusted gay men, they loathe themselves, live in an unbearable closet, and act out in unhealthy ways like soliciting sex in a public bathroom. Larry Craig is a liar, hypocrite, pathetic, and clearly miserable. Rather than "checking into rehab" to "cure" himself of his sexual orientation, he should accept himself and learn to live in a healthy way as an honest gay man. Larry Craig shouldn't lose his Senate career for being gay; he should lose it for being a hypocrite.

Come on guys --- you want to act like Craig wasn't soliciting sex? Just out of curiosity has anyone on the board "accidentally" bumped the foot of someone in the next stall? Anyone? Can anyone think of a time when this happened to you? I don't care if Craig is gay or not but I do care if he is a hypocrite. Craig's office is so anti-gay that they would not pledge not to discriminate against gays. So it makes me mad when you act like there is some innocent explanation for Craig staring at a guy through the cracks of a stall and then "accidentally" bumping his foot because of a "wide stance."

How can tapping your foot be an illegal act? Or how can playing footsie be an illegal act? Is it because these acts occured where closeted gay men may go for hook ups? What scares me more than Senator Craig's conservative voting record is the unbridled police power that officers have in arresting people on what would be legal behavior in any setting - other than where sex on the DL between men may occur. I sure hope I don't bump into that arresting officer in a crowded room. He may think I am trying to illegally pick him up. If I ever have a stop over at Minneapolis airport and have to pee, I will hold it until I am on the next plane.

Why try to legislate sexual morality? That's where the problem lies. Americans are not as free thinking as they want to believe that they are. Hipocracy...

So the link on the homepage said he has been "accused" (BLOG: Senator accused of lewd conduct) and the headline of this post says he has been "arrested" (BREAKING NEWS: Senator arrested in airport restroom).

(Ans: Arrested for one thing, pleaded guilty to another.)

I'm an openly gay professional whose blood boils when I hear stories such as this. Senator Craig is a closeted, self-hating hypocrite who overcompensates for his own sense of inadequacy by consistently supporting far right (i.e. anti gay) legislation and issues.

ou can be arrested for making a pass at someone? This is so lame. Perhaps people might see this as poetic justics, since its a Republican getting snagged by a homophobic law which impinges on personal choice and freedom--the kind of laws that Republicans love--but that doesn't matter. Making a unagressive sexual pass at a complete stranger in a bathroom is gross, but ILLEGAL?

In answer to what?!?!?! who said:

"So, if i start tapping my foot in a bathroom stall i can be arrested for lewd behavior? "

It was alleged also that Craig slid his foot into the next stall (try that the next time you have a chance- you'll know it can't be done except intentionally) and "came in contact" with the officers foot (shoe). This was after he had spent some time peeking through the crack in the door into the officers stall (more time than was necessary to determine merely if the stall was occupied - which I generally do by looking under the door for the tell tale feet on the floor; and it only takes a second). Also, Craig pleaded guilty.

So, what does it take, what?|?|?| ?

In answer to AJ, who wrote,

"I don't see why he was arrested without actually doing anything illegal"

Soliciting sex (lewd behavior) is doing something; I'm not sure, but it may be illegal to do that, at least under the circumstances described. There had been complaints of such soliciting there, and the police were staking the place. Why would the police do that if nothing illegal was involved. If soliciting sex is not illegal, how about harassment, or invasion of privacy. Why should anyone have to put up with such advances just to take a pee.


More Republican 'family values' hypocrisy. With the recent news of Vitter and Craig and the Republican congressman caught in the sex scandals leading up to the last election, these events will hopefully be the death knell of the religious/ultra right's attempt to force their 'do as I say not as I do' morals on the public. They have no credibility....

I think the news is that it was not news in June. How did they hide this one?

So what, an old homo senator wanted some strange and got busted.

Just come out of the closet, dude. I am out and proud as a heterosexual, woman loving dude... is it so hard for you to come out?

Why doesn't someone mention Mr. Craig's religious affiliation? If he were Catholic or Mormon, his religious affiliation would be splashed all over the news.

He's not gay but his boyfriend is........

Maybe if we stop making "GAY" so icky, and just accept the differences in people then we can move forward in this Politics and deal with real world issues. And it's the made up religious stuff that really causes all of this trouble. If we just throw that bible book of lies and made up morals away then maybe we can get somewhere with life and really, possibly then we could be loving to everyone.

come on people lets call it for what it is. a man looking through the cracks of a stall wall for several minutes hmmmm, tapping of your feet doesn't raise an eyebrow but bumping your foot into another stall hmmm. suspicious. at last running your hands under the stall wall several times is not normal heterosexual male behavior in a bathroom.face it the senator is gay!!!!!. Back in the 90's i worked for a retail store as an undercover guard,what the senator was accused of is kind of universal for males trying to engage in homosexual activity.Trust me the officer was not making this up.

As a Democrat when I ask my Republican golf partner about GOP scandals his standard reply is either "All politicians do that!" --- or ---"That started in 1790 with George Washington!, nothing new!"........That certainly wasn't his attitude during the Clinton years.....He would still like to convict Clinton and O.J. Simpson of something........GOP Famiily Values on display...


Recommended on Facebook


In Case You Missed It...

About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
President Obama
Republican Politics
Democratic Politics



Get Alerts on Your Mobile Phone

Sign me up for the following lists: