Larry Craig.
Larry Craig. (Photo: Stacey Cramp/NLJ)

Former U.S. Sen. Larry Craig must file papers next week that detail why he thinks $216,000 in legal bills rooted in his 2007 arrest in an airport sex sting were an appropriate use of campaign funds.

U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson in July ordered the Idaho Republican to file court papers about his personal legal bills connected to criminal charges of soliciting sex from an undercover officer in a bathroom at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. The judge on Thursday extended Craig’s deadline to Aug. 15.

The Federal Election Commission in June 2012 sued Craig in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, saying the spending was not an “ordinary and necessary” expense incurred as part of his duty as a senator. (Read the FEC’s motion for summary judgment here, and Craig’s opposition here.)

Berman ordered Craig to file court papers “itemizing and quantifying all of the legal expenses,” included in bills from two law firms—Kelly & Jacobson of Minneapolis and Sutherland Asbill & Brennan—that the defendants contend were permissible under FEC advisory opinions.

“Defendants’ submission should separately identify each entry by date and by attorney and indicate the amount of time involved and the specific dollar amount they claim constituted an appropriate use of campaign funds,” Berman wrote in an order. “The submission should specify the reason (e.g., media relations or Senate Ethics Committee matters).”

On June 11, 2007, Craig was arrested under Minnesota law for disturbing the peace-disorderly conduct and interference with privacy. He pleaded guilty to a disorderly-conduct charge as part of a plea agreement. He denied he had solicited sex in the restroom from an undercover officer.

Craig later attempted to withdraw his guilty plea. To that end, his campaign, Craig for U.S. Senate, paid $139,952 to retain Sutherland Asbill & Brennan and $77,032 to Kelly & Jacobson to serve as local counsel, according to the FEC lawsuit.

Contact Todd Ruger at truger@alm.com. On Twitter: @ToddRuger.