Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Congressional Sex Scandals

"I Wouldn't Do It in Boise, Idaho!"

Two months after the arrest, Roll Call broke the story of Craig's guilty plea in the airport bathroom sting on Aug. 27, 2007. The next day, the Idaho Statesman published its in-depth article into previous allegations of Craig's homosexuality. The newspaper, based in Boise, had conducted hundreds of interviews and chased leads over five months with men who said they had sex with Craig, dating from his days at the University of Idaho in 1967 as well as the 1982 page scandal. The people to whom the Statesman spoke included the man who alleged he and Craig had had oral sex in a restroom at Washington's Union Station, a man who alleged Craig made a pass at him while a student at the U of I and a man who charged that Craig had "cruised" him while he shopped at an REI store in Boise.

Told of the allegations in May before the Statesman initially decided not to run the story, Craig responded, "I don't go around anywhere hitting on men and, and by God if I did, I wouldn't do it in Boise, Idaho! Jiminy!" He added, "I am not gay and I have never been in a restroom in Union Station having sex with anybody."

In a bit of verbal gaffe as the allegations mounted against him, he added, "There's a very clear bottom line here." The line prefigured his statement the day after the Statesman ran the story in August. In front of dozens of reporters in a nationally televised press conference he began his denial of being gay, "Thank you all very much for coming out today..."

Craig blamed the prior Statesman investigation into his sexuality for his guilty plea in Minneapolis. "Without a shred of truth or evidence to the contrary, the Statesman has engaged in this witch hunt. In pleading guilty, I overreacted in Minneapolis, because of the stress of the Idaho Statesman's investigation and the rumors it has fueled around Idaho. Again, that overreaction was a mistake, and I apologize for my misjudgment. Furthermore, I should not have kept this arrest to myself."

The reaction from Craig's Senate colleagues was swift. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky called for an ethics investigation while Democrats and Republicans questioned his behavior. The Idaho Senator resigned from his role as the U.S. Senate co-chair of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney. The same day the Romney campaign cancelled a visit to Boise by Romney's son Josh.

While at the August 28 press conference Craig did not rule out running for reelection, by September 1 he reversed course and said he would resign by the end of the month. The pressure from fellow Republicans was mighty, with Romney saying Craig had "disappointed the American people."

Jim Weatherby, a professor at the University of Idaho, said at the time, "I can't think of anything comparable in my years of watching Idaho politics, both in how quickly he fell and in the role, apparently, of national party leadership in just cutting him off."

After an effort to have his guilty plea overturned failed, Craig announced he would finish out his term ending in 2008.

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