NPI's Cascadia Advocate

Offering commentary and analysis from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's uplifting perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Sunday, December 23rd, 2012

Alexandria police arrest Idaho Senator Mike Crapo for driving under the influence

But not to wor­ry, we hear you can be for­giv­en for dri­ving drunk (or, in Lar­ry Craig’s case, solic­it­ing sex in an air­port bath­room) if you’re a Republican:

Police in Alexan­dria, Vir­gina  said the three-term sen­a­tor from Bon­neville Coun­ty failed field sobri­ety tests after an offi­cer saw Crapo’s vehi­cle run a red light and pulled him over about 12:45 a.m. Sunday.

“There was no refusal (to take sobri­ety tests), no acci­dent, no injuries,” Alexan­dria police spokesman Jody Don­ald­son said. “Just a traf­fic stop that result­ed in a DUI.”

Crapo, who was alone in his vehi­cle, reg­is­tered a blood alco­hol con­tent of 0.11, police said. The legal lim­it in Vir­ginia is the same as in Ida­ho — 0.08.

The sen­a­tor was tak­en to jail, then released on an unse­cured $1,000 bond about 5 a.m., police said. He is charged with mis­de­meanor dri­ving under the influence.

Crapo, six­ty-one, is serv­ing his third term in the Unit­ed States Sen­ate. He joined Con­gress’ upper cham­ber in 1999, and served for a decade along­side Lar­ry Craig, who chose not to seek reelec­tion after he was arrest­ed in Min­neapo­lis-St. Paul Inter­na­tion­al Air­port for lewd con­duct dur­ing the sum­mer of 2007.

One of Crapo’s first offi­cial acts as a U.S. Sen­a­tor was to cast a vote in favor of con­vict­ing for­mer Pres­i­dent Bill Clin­ton for per­jury and obstruc­tion of jus­tice fol­low­ing Clin­ton’s tri­al in the U.S. Sen­ate, which last­ed for over a month, presided over by for­mer Chief Jus­tice William Rehnquist.

On Feb­ru­ary 12th, 1999, Crapo took to the Sen­ate floor to announce how he had decid­ed to vote. Here is an excerpt from that speech:

At the out­set [of the tri­al], each Sen­a­tor was admin­is­tered a sep­a­rate oath by the Chief Jus­tice of the Supreme Court. This spe­cial oath was sep­a­rate and dis­tinct from the oath of office that each Sen­a­tor takes when sworn into office. To my knowl­edge, this is the only oth­er occa­sion in which our Found­ing Fathers required a sep­a­rate and dis­tinct oath of U.S. Sen­a­tors to per­form a con­sti­tu­tion­al responsibility.

Once again, the incred­i­ble wis­dom of our Found­ing Fathers was evi­dent. As each Sen­a­tor took the oath to pro­vide impar­tial jus­tice, a real­iza­tion fell over us that we had just embarked on a very solemn duty. No longer was the Sen­ate a leg­isla­tive body, it was a court of impeach­ment. A unique court, to be sure, not iden­ti­cal to tra­di­tion­al civ­il and crim­i­nal courts, but a court nonetheless.

This oath to ren­der “impar­tial jus­tice” was a promise to God under our Con­sti­tu­tion. It also rep­re­sent­ed a duty to all Ida­hoans to rep­re­sent them impar­tial­ly. I com­mit­ted that I would con­duct myself in a fash­ion so that at any time I could affirm that I ful­ly hon­ored this com­mit­ment.

Empha­sis is mine.

Crapo cer­tain­ly isn’t proud of his con­duct this week­end. In a brief state­ment issued this evening, he tried to sound very apolo­getic. But curi­ous­ly, he referred repeat­ed­ly to his crime as “this cir­cum­stance” , instead of admit­ting what he’d done:

I am deeply sor­ry for the actions that result­ed in this cir­cum­stance… I made a mis­take for which I apol­o­gize to my fam­i­ly, my Ida­ho con­stituents and any oth­ers who have put their trust in me. I accept total respon­si­bil­i­ty and will deal with what­ev­er penal­ty comes my way in this mat­ter. I will also under­take mea­sures to ensure that this cir­cum­stance is nev­er repeated.

Dri­ving under the influ­ence in Vir­ginia is typ­i­cal­ly a Class 1 mis­de­meanor when an indi­vid­ual has a blood alco­hol con­tent below .15. The Old Domin­ion has one of the tough­est DUI laws in the coun­try, as Sen­a­tor Crapo is about to dis­cov­er. A con­vic­tion for a first-time DUI offense car­ries a max­i­mum fine of $2,500 (min­i­mum $250) and a one-year revo­ca­tion of the indi­vid­u­al’s license to dri­ve. (Oper­at­ing an auto­mo­bile in the Unit­ed States is a priv­i­lege, not a right).

Addi­tion­al­ly, Vir­ginia requires that those con­vict­ed of a DUI par­tic­i­pate in a manda­to­ry Alco­hol Safe­ty Action Pro­gram (ASAP). Pre­sum­ably, Sen­a­tor Crapo will be par­tic­i­pat­ing in Alexan­dri­a’s ASAP, once he for­mal­ly accepts respon­si­bil­i­ty for his behav­ior and pleads guilty to dri­ving under the influ­ence as he has implied he will.

At 43rd State Blues, reg­u­lar writer MeAndG’s reac­tion was pure snark:


One large land mass.
One small population.
One polit­i­cal par­ty filled with more screw-ups than you can fit in an aver­age class at the Bet­ty Ford Center.
Nice going!
Great fam­i­ly values!
Way to set an exam­ple for our children!

Mean­while, at Fort Boise, Tom van Alten called the DUI “not good pub­lic­i­ty”:

For­tu­nate­ly, no acci­dent and nobody hurt. And for­tu­nate­ly, he was prob­a­bly plan­ning to be in the area on Jan­u­ary 4 any­way. But nobody expect­ed Ida­ho’s senior Sen­a­tor to be mak­ing a court date in Alexan­dria to answer a D.U.I. charge. There’s the “staunch social and fis­cal con­ser­v­a­tive” thing, which hard­ly immu­nizes one from slip­ping past 0.08, but being a bish­op of the Mor­mon Church is sup­posed to do that.

Crapo is indeed for­tu­nate that he was caught. Had he not been stopped by police, he might have caused harm to him­self or oth­ers by con­tin­u­ing to dri­ve while intox­i­cat­ed. Hope­ful­ly his arrest this week­end will result in him choos­ing to take a cab home or get a ride from a friend the next time he has a lot to drink at a party.

Or bet­ter yet, he can abide by the laws of his church — which he is sup­posed to be a leader of — and not con­sume alco­holic bev­er­ages at all.

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