Senate Republican leaders Tuesday called for an ethics investigation into the Minneapolis airport arrest of Sen. Larry Craig (R-Idaho) in a "lewd conduct" incident.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and other leaders released the following statement:
“Late yesterday we became aware of the incident involving Sen. Larry Craig and his subsequent admission of guilt in a Minnesota court. This is a serious matter. Due to the reported and disputed circumstances, and the legal resolution of this serious case, we will recommend that Sen. Craig’s incident be reported to the Senate Ethics Committee for its review. In the meantime, leadership is examining other aspects of the case to determine if additional action is required.”
Meanwhile, Craig’s troubles continued to mount, even as he proclaimed in an Idaho news conference Tuesday, “I am not gay.”
A private congressional watchdog organization, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, filed a complaint with the Senate Ethics Committee, asking for an investigation into whether the senator violated the Senate rules of conduct.
Melanie Sloan, CREW’s executive director, said that although the ethics committee did not respond to a similar complaint her organization filed in response to allegations that Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) had visited a prostitute, her organization’s new complaint was “a triumph of hope over experience.”
Sloan was also surprised Senate Republican leaders had called for an ethics investigation into Craig after they were silent on Vitter’s actions.
“In reality, Republicans now are just mad because this one is gay,” Sloan said. “That is the only difference here between Vitter and Craig. I guess family values are not undercut by soliciting female prostitutes, but they are by soliciting male ones.”