Larry Craig

Craig had part in Packwood inquiry

Republican Senate leaders are calling for an official ethics inquiry into Larry Craig in his 16th year in the Senate. GOP leaders in Craig's early Senate years pegged him to serve on a similar panel.

Starting in 1993, two years after Craig was sworn in, he served on a committee charged with evaluating whether Oregon GOP Sen. Bob Packwood made unwelcome sexual advances to more than two dozen women over a many years and blocked disclosure of the harassment charges during his 1992 re-election campaign.

Craig was among the lawmakers who voted to keep the inquiry private during the hearings. He defended his stance in an opinion piece in the Idaho Statesman 12 years ago.

"I fully understand and agree with the ‘need to know' mentality of the press," Craig wrote then but said, "Upon the conclusions of our deliberations, all information will go before the public. This will be an appropriate time."

The panel asked Packwood for his unedited personal diaries — an invasion of privacy, Packwood claimed.

Craig supported the subpoena, though, and said then that the argument ‘‘is not about sexual misconduct or intimidation. It's about the facts."

In the end, Craig joined with others in voting to expel Packwood, who resigned soon after.

The whole ordeal was not easy for Craig. The day of the decision in September 1995, Los Angeles Times writer Edwin Chen wrote these lines:

"One particularly poignant moment came during an exchange between Packwood and Sen. Larry E. Craig, R-Idaho, a member of the Ethics Committee. Afterward, they shook hands and hugged one another. Then Craig began sobbing and quickly strode into the GOP cloakroom, his hands covering his face."

Gregory Hahn: 377-6425