Politics

December 24, 2012

Idaho senator facing DUI claimed to be teetotaler

U.S. Sen. Mike Crapo is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saint, which prohibits using alcohol.

The Associated Press

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This Sunday, Dec. 23, 2012 booking photo provided by the Alexandria, Va. Police Department shows Idaho U.S. Sen. Michael Crapo. Crapo was arrested early Sunday morning, Dec. 23, 2012 and charged with driving under the influence in a Washington, D.C., suburb, authorities said. (AP Photo/Alexandria Police Department)

But none of them were Mormon.

Crapo raised the stakes by projecting an image of a diligent member of the faith and — at least outwardly — following church founder Joseph Smith's 1833 revelation in which he advised members that "strong spirits are not for the belly."

The U.S. Senate adjourned last week and wasn't expected to resume until Wednesday; it's unclear why Crapo had remained in Washington, D.C., ahead of the Christmas holiday.

According to the police report, he was alone in his car. It wasn't immediately clear where he'd been or where he was going when he was stopped.

Crapo was a Mormon bishop at 31 and has showed no public signs of a break from his church's teachings.

Church members must follow its guidance — including its rules on alcohol — to participate fully in the faith's rituals, including temple activities that are central to the religion.

Phone calls Monday to Mormon headquarters in Salt Lake City were not returned.

Crapo, first elected in 1998, is expected to take over the top Republican spot next year on the Senate Banking Committee. He also serves on the Senate's budget and finance panels and was a member of the so-called "Gang of Six" senators who worked in 2011 toward a deficit-reduction deal that was never adopted by Congress.

The 2010 bill he sponsored on cutting taxes for brewers ultimately stalled.

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