Vitter Demands Ethics Inquiry After Dems Float Obamacare-Prostitute Bill

The Louisiana Republican hits back after Democrats suggest a bill that highlights an awkward episode from Vitter’s past.

Key Conservative Stance: Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) cast one of the two votes against confirming New York Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton as secretary of state, although her qualifications for the job were not an issue. Vitter has opposed much of the Obama administration agenda.
National Journal
Patrick Reis
Add to Briefcase
See more stories about...
Patrick Reis
Sept. 13, 2013, 11:54 a.m.

Sen. Dav­id Vit­ter wants the Sen­ate Eth­ics Com­mit­tee to launch an in­vest­ig­a­tion of Demo­crats Harry Re­id and Bar­bara Box­er, say­ing the two broke the Sen­ate’s code of con­duct when they floated le­gis­la­tion ref­er­en­cing Vit­ter’s al­leged past ren­dez­vous with pros­ti­tutes.

Vit­ter ap­peal to the Eth­ics pan­el is the latest move in a rap­idly es­cal­at­ing battle between the Louisi­ana Re­pub­lic­an and his col­leagues across the aisle.

Vit­ter in­furi­ated Demo­crats this week by hi­jack­ing a de­bate over an en­ergy-ef­fi­ciency bill with an amend­ment aimed at Obama­care. Un­der Vit­ter’s amend­ment, law­makers would no longer qual­i­fy for fed­er­al con­tri­bu­tions to help cov­er their health care costs.

It’s a prickly sub­ject for Demo­crats, and, ac­cord­ing to a Fri­day Politico re­port, they’re con­sid­er­ing the hard­est of hard­ball moves in re­sponse. The Demo­crats are re­portedly float­ing le­gis­la­tion that would ban sen­at­ors from get­ting gov­ern­ment con­tri­bu­tions for their health in­sur­ance costs if there is “prob­able cause” they so­li­cited pros­ti­tutes. The move is an ob­vi­ous swipe at Vit­ter, who has been sus­pec­ted of in­volve­ment with pros­ti­tutes since his 2007 en­tan­gle­ment in the “D.C. Madam” scan­dal.

But in his call for an Eth­ics in­vest­ig­a­tion, Vit­ter is ig­nor­ing the swipe by fo­cus­ing on an al­tern­at­ive draft of the le­gis­la­tion. Demo­crats re­portedly floated an al­tern­at­ive ver­sion of their bill that would deny cov­er­age con­tri­bu­tions to any law­maker who voted in sup­port of Vit­ter’s amend­ment. Vit­ter ar­gues that bill amounts to bribery, with law­makers of­fer­ing be­ne­fits — in this case, the fed­er­al cov­er­age con­tri­bu­tions — to law­makers in ex­change for their votes.

“This is at­temp­ted bribery, and the ex­act sort of be­ha­vi­or that the Sen­ate Eth­ics Com­mit­tee has pre­vi­ously con­demned,” he said in a let­ter to the com­mit­tee heads.

In his let­ter, Vit­ter notes that Box­er is in­deed the top Demo­crat on the Eth­ics pan­el. Should she be found com­pli­cit in the scheme, Vit­ter says that Box­er should be stripped of her Eth­ics Com­mit­tee mem­ber­ship.

Box­er, for her part, is not back­ing down either: “Sen­at­or Vit­ter has man­u­fac­tured a bizarre and phony at­tack that de­means the Sen­ate,” she said later Fri­day.

Demo­crats have not yet form­ally in­tro­duced any ver­sion of the anti-Vit­ter bill, and none may ever hit the floor, but its ap­pear­ance in press re­ports has put a spot­light on a part of Vit­ter’s ca­reer he would prefer re­main part of the past.

This post was up­dated at 5:25 p.m. Fri­day to in­clude Sen. Box­er’s re­sponse.

What We're Following See More »
TALKING CLIMATE CHANGE
Al Gore Meeting with Ivanka Trump
49 minutes ago
THE LATEST
PLENTIFUL OIL RESERVES
Trump Native American Council Recommends Privatizing Indian Land
55 minutes ago
THE LATEST

A group advising Donald Trump on Native American issues is encouraging him to privatize Indian reservations, taking the land out of the hands of the "suffocating federal bureaucracy." Currently, tribes have rights to the land but don't own it, meaning they can drill, but only under strenuous government restriction. Markwayne Mullin, a Republican congressman from Oklahoma and a member of the Cherokee tribe thinks the plan would be supported by Native American tribes nationally.

Source:
IT’S OFFICIAL
Trump to Nominate Carson to Lead HUD
4 hours ago
THE LATEST

As has been rumored for a week, Donald Trump will nominate Ben Carson, his former rival, to lead the Department of Housing and Urban Development. In a statement, Trump said, "We have talked at length about my urban renewal agenda and our message of economic revival, very much including our inner cities. Ben shares my optimism about the future of our country and is part of ensuring that this is a Presidency representing all Americans. He is a tough competitor and never gives up."

Source:
TOO COSTLY, SAYS GREEN PARTY
Stein Drops Pennsylvania Recount
4 hours ago
THE LATEST

"Supporters of Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein on Saturday withdrew a last-ditch lawsuit in Pennsylvania state court aimed at forcing a statewide ballot recount, another major setback in the effort to verify the votes in three states that provided President-elect Donald Trump his margin of victory. Ms. Stein’s campaign announced in a statement Saturday that the Pennsylvania lawsuit had been dropped after the court demanded that a $1 million bond be posted by the 100 Pennsylvania residents who brought the suit."

Source:
ANOTHER MORNING TWEETSTORM
Trump Threatens 35% Tariff on Companies that Move Overseas
4 hours ago
THE LATEST

In a series of early-morning tweets on Sunday, Donald Trump threatened companies that attempt to relocate out of the country. "Any business that leaves our country for another country, fires its employees, builds a new factory or plant in the other country, and then thinks it will sell its product back into the U.S. without retribution or consequence, is WRONG!," he wrote. "There will be a tax on our soon to be strong border of 35% for these companies."

Source:
×
×

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.

Login