U.S. Senate

While not a household name, Burton K. Wheeler may have been the most powerful politician Montana ever produced, and he was one of the most influential and controversial members of the United States senate.   A New Deal Democrat and lifelong opponent of concentrated power, he consistently acted with a righteous personal and political independence that has all but disappeared from the public sphere. 

While not a household name, Burton K. Wheeler may have been the most powerful politician Montana ever produced, and he was one of the most influential and controversial members of the United States senate.   A New Deal Democrat and lifelong opponent of concentrated power, he consistently acted with a righteous personal and political independence that has all but disappeared from the public sphere. 

SenatorJamesRisch / Youtube

Idaho’s Jim Risch was among the senators to question the heads of all the nation’s intelligence agencies in the annual hearing on worldwide threats this week. Risch used his time to highlight a security threat striking a particular Treasure Valley company.

Youtube

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo appeared before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee this week to shed light on the recent meeting between President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin. While some Republican senators pressed Pompeo for answers, Idaho Senator Jim Risch didn’t ask about the controversial summit.


fossilmike / Flickr

Idaho Senator Mike Crapo’s bill to ease financial protections established by the Dodd-Frank Act passed in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis got the green light from the U.S. Senate this week. Crapo’s proposal drew bipartisan support.

Kyle Green / Idaho Statesman

The number of Republican lawmakers distancing themselves from GOP Alabama senate candidate Roy Moore continues to grow. Idaho Sen. Jim Risch is the latest to join top Republicans in urging Moore to drop out after previously questioning whether the allegations of sexual misconduct were true.

J. Scott Applewhite / AP Images

After Republican Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee announced Tuesday that he would not run for reelection in 2018, a powerful position in foreign affairs opened up.

Darin Oswald / Idaho Statesman

U.S. Sen. Mike Crapo from Idaho has announced that he will be running for his fourth consecutive term in the Senate in 2016.

The Idaho Republican has represented the Gem State in the U.S. Senate since 1998. He was re-elected in 2010 with 71 percent of the vote after running unopposed in 2004.

Crapo said in a prepared statement that he will continue to fight for the Idaho's conservative values in Washington.

Courtesy of American Center for Law and Justice

The Senate has unanimously passed a resolution calling for Iranian officials to immediately release a Boise pastor and two Americans held in Iran and help locate a fourth.

The lawmakers on Monday called on Iran to free Saeed Abedini, Amir Hekmati and Jason Rezaian and cooperate with the U.S. government to locate and return former FBI agent Robert Levinson, who is believed to be missing in Iran.

Abedini, a Christian pastor from Idaho, has been in Iranian custody since September 2012 and is serving an eight-year sentence for undermining state security.

Some sportsmen's groups and conservationists say they're frustrated with votes by both of Idaho's Republican senators on a budget resolution the groups say is a first step to federal land transfer or sale.

U.S. Sens. Mike Crapo and Jim Risch both voted late last month to establish a procedure for selling, exchanging or transferring to the states federal lands.

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

Republican Idaho Sen. Jim Risch says the U.S. Senate should not have released a report on CIA interrogation practices following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. The report that became public Tuesday says the CIA tortured prisoners, did not get much valuable information from doing so, and lied to Congress about it.   

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

Republicans will take control of the U.S. Senate in January. That could mean more influence for Idaho’s two Republican senators.

When a new party takes control, each of the Senate’s 20 committees and 68 subcommittees get a new leader. Sarah Binder studies Congress at the Brookings Institution in Washington DC. She describes it as a big round of musical chairs. Binder says heading a Congressional committee brings power.

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

This post was updated on Nov. 5 at 7:50 a.m.

Idaho Republicans have swept the state's top elected offices and seats in Congress. In addition to Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter being elected to a rare consecutive three-year term, every down-ticket race also went to Otter's Republican colleagues.

Secretary of State

Mike Crapo

U.S. Sen. Mike Crapo says he will seek re-election in 2016.

In making the announcement Friday in Lewiston, the 63-year-old Republican says he's committed to resolving a number of critical issues to the country.

The Lewiston Tribune reports that Crapo was elected to the Senate in 1998 to succeed Sen. Dirk Kempthorne. He is serving the fourth year of his third term and is ranked 39th in seniority in the Senate.

Larry Craig
Joe Jaszewski / The Idaho Statesman

Federal Election Commission lawyers urged a federal judge not to heed U.S. Sen. Larry Craig's contention that regulators are being too hard on him and force him to pay nearly $360,000 in fines and restitution for tapping campaign accounts for his legal defense following his 2007 arrest in an airport bathroom sex sting.

The FEC says the Idaho Republican ignored the U.S. Senate's own warnings not to spend the money.

This battle has gone on more than a year, as the commission seeks to force Craig to repay his campaign.

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

Boise lawyer Nels Mitchell wants to take Idaho’s U.S. Senate seat away from Republican Jim Risch. Mitchell, a Democrat officially announced his candidacy Tuesday in Boise.

Mitchell grew up in Idaho, but most of his 30-plus year career has been spent in California and New York. That includes a stint at the Securities and Exchange Commission.  

He returned to Boise in 2008 and works for the law firm Mauk and Burgoyne, and teaches part-time for his alma mater, the University of Idaho College of Law.

Nels Mitchell
Idaho Democratic Party

A Boise lawyer plans to run as a Democrat for the U.S. Senate seat now held by Republican Jim Risch.

Nels Mitchell aims to announce his run Tuesday at Boise's historic train depot.

Mitchell grew up in Idaho's capital, but spent much of his professional career as a lawyer in New York and California.

His legal experience includes several years as an associate regional director at the Securities and Exchange Commission in southern California, where he oversaw a staff of about 75 people who investigated and prosecuted securities fraud cases in the Los Angeles area.

U.S. Capitol, Washington, DC
VPickering / Flickr Creative Commons

Legislation being supported by Democrats and Republicans in Washington has not impressed Sen. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho. Crapo told reporters in a conference call Wednesday that he’s still examining the compromise, but that he is not likely to support it.

Courtesy of Sen. Mike Crapo's office

Update, Oct. 17, 9:23 a.m.

Associated Press:

Three of four of Idaho congressional members cast votes in opposition to the hard-fought legislation that ended the partial 16-day government shutdown and averted a potential federal default.

U.S. Sens. Mike Crapo and Jim Risch voted against the bill late Wednesday, as did Rep. Raul Labrador when the House took up the compromise measure.

U.S. Senate

Federal election regulators want former U.S. Sen. Larry Craig to pay $140,000 in fines and return more than $216,000 to his campaign, arguing he misused the money to fund his legal defense after his arrest in a 2007 airport bathroom sex sting.

The Federal Election Commission proposed the penalties earlier this week in filings to U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson in Washington, D.C.

In March, Jackson refused to dismiss the FEC's lawsuit against the Idaho senator alleging he illegally tapped campaign funds.

Scott Graf / Boise State Public Radio

Idaho Congressman Raul Labrador reacted today to the Senate’s approval Thursday of an immigration reform bill.  The Republican congressman who made his living as an immigration attorney before being elected to the House in 2010 says he gives the Senate credit for framing the issue and addressing important aspects of the immigration debate. 

Courtesy of Sen. Mike Crapo's office

Democratic and Republican senators have filed hundreds of amendments to an immigration bill in the U.S. Senate.  Many amendments filed by Republicans aim to boost border security and add employment enforcement provisions. Supporters say in some cases the real intent is to kill the legislation.

Mike Crapo

Sequestration is looming, with the across-the-board $85 billion federal budget cuts now less than a day away.  Among those watching closely to see what happens is Idaho Senator Mike Crapo.

As the deadline gets closer, Crapo expects several attempts to hold off sequestration.  He’s heard of at least three bills that will come up for a vote. “One will be on the President’s proposal to avoid the sequestration by raising taxes and setting off some of the sequestration by agreeing not to do it.” 

Darin Oswald / Idaho Statesman

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (AP) - U.S. Sen. Michael Crapo pleaded guilty Friday to a charge of driving while intoxicated and then apologized for his actions and asked forgiveness from his constituents.

A bill to protect victims of domestic violence comes up for a vote this week in the U.S. Senate.  Some Senate Republicans oppose the legislation because it expands prosecutorial powers for native American tribes, and adds protection for battered illegal immigrants, gays, and lesbians. 

U.S. Senator Mike Crapo (R-ID)  is a co-sponsor of the bill.  He says the provisions that have been criticized aren’t central to the legislation.   “I believe these are critical programs that need to be re-authorized and I’m going to be a strong advocate for it.”