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Published Feb. 14, 2008

The Senate Ethics Committee said Wednesday that Idaho Sen. Larry Craig acted improperly in connection with a men's room sex sting last year and had brought discredit on the Senate.

In a letter to the Republican senator, the ethics panel said Craig's attempt to withdraw his guilty plea after his arrest at a Minneapolis airport was an effort to evade legal consequences of his actions.

In an e-mailed statement, Craig said he disagreed with the panel's action.

The six members of the committee - three Democrats and three Republicans - told Craig they believed he "committed the offense to which you pled guilty."

The panel also said Craig should have received permission from the ethics panel before using campaign funds to pay his legal bills.

Craig, who is not running for re-election, has spent more than $213,000 in campaign money for legal expenses and public relations since his arrest.

Any future use of campaign money for legal bills will be seen as "demonstrating your continuing disregard of ethics requirements," the panel wrote.

Craig pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct after he was accused of soliciting sex in a bathroom at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport in June.

Craig promised to resign Sept. 30, then reversed his decision.