A federal judge in Washington today expressed doubt that former U.S. Senator Larry Craig properly used campaign money when he spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on personal legal expenses following his arrest in 2007 in a sex sting at an airport in Minnesota.
The Federal Election Commission in June 2012 sued Craig in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, saying the $200,000 he spent was not an "ordinary and necessary" expense incurred as part of his duty as a senator. The FEC wants Craig to repay the money and also pay a penalty. Craig was a senator from Idaho from 1991 to 2009.
Andrew Herman of Washington's Brand Law Group, representing Craig and his U.S. senate campaign committee, argued today at a hearing in the case that Craig had authority to use privately raised campaign funds in connection to expenses that arose while he was on official travel as a senator.
Herman rooted his argument in a January 2007 election commission advisory opinion that addressed a retired congressman's use of funds to pay legal bills associated with a U.S. Justice Department criminal investigation. Herman said the FEC "has buyer's remorse with this opinion." Jackson seemed incredulous, however.