Roll Call editor says CREW didn't give him Craig story
Nick Juliano
Published: Friday September 28, 2007

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'No idea whatsoever' how DeLay got that idea, editor tells Raw Story

The Capitol Hill newsman who first learned of Larry Craig's arrest for frisky behavior in a Minneapolis restroom says the accusation that an ethics watchdog group leaked him the police report is completely untrue.

Former Republican Majority Leader Tom DeLay accused Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington of distributing Craig's sex-sting arrest report to distract from a scandal swirling around Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.

"I can tell you categorically that CREW was not the source for our Larry Craig story," Josh Kurtz, who was first tipped off about the Idaho senator's arrest, told RAW STORY. Kurtz is political editor of Roll Call, the Capitol Hill newspaper that first reported Craig's arrest.

CREW publishes an annual list of the "most corrupt" members of Congress called "Beyond DeLay," in honor of the former House majority leader.

The Houston Chronicle reported that DeLay said CREW was acting in concert with Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign to distract attention from an emerging scandal revolving around rogue fundraiser Norman Hsu.

"Clearly Tom DeLay is still obsessed with CREW," Naomi Seligman Steiner, a spokeswoman for the group told RAW STORY. "Sure, by writing the ethics complaint against him we were instrumental in his downfall. But, after all these years, even we're surprised that he's resorted to making up conspiratorial theories about us."

Further undercutting DeLay's assertion is that reports of Norman Hsu questionable fundraising practices didn't break until a day after Roll Call broke Craig's story.

The world first learned of Craig's toe-tapping, hand-waving, wide-stanced bathroom habits from Roll Call's Web site on Aug. 27. The Wall Street Journal first raised questions about Hsu in an Aug. 28 article. The fundraiser's fugitive past did not fully emerge for several more days, and it was more than a week before Clinton was forced to return all the donations Hsu had bundled.

This hasn't been DeLay's first swipe at CREW, which has been harshly critical of the Texas Republican. Appearing on MSNBC in August, DeLay accused the group of withholding evidence of former Rep. Mark Foley's e-mails to underage pages.

"A leftist group CREW held onto it [evidence of Foley's email communications to House pages] for over a year before they pulled the trigger on the day of adjournment," DeLay said, according to MediaMatters, which debunked his claim, noting CREW quickly handed evidence it obtained over to the FBI.

Kurtz, Roll Call's political editor, would not disclose any information about the newspaper's source on the Craig story other than to deny CREW's involvement. He heard no suggestion until Friday's Houston Chronicle report that the group was involved.

"No idea whatsoever," Kurtz said when asked where DeLay would have come up with his claim. "Other than (that) he obviously has a very contentious history with CREW."