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 »
PLANS TO CURB ITS POWER
Pruitt Confirmed As EPA Head
2 days ago
BREAKING
WOULD HAVE REPLACED FLYNN
Harward Turns Down NSC Job
3 days ago
THE LATEST

"Ret. Vice Adm. Bob Harward turned down President Donald Trump's offer to be national security adviser Thursday, depriving the administration of a top candidate for a critical foreign policy post days after Trump fired Michael Flynn." Among the potential reasons: his family, his lack of assurances that he could build his own team, and that "the White House seems so chaotic."

Source:
REVERSES OBAMA RULE
House Votes to Let States Block Planned Parenthood Funds
3 days ago
THE LATEST

"The House passed a resolution Thursday re-opening the door for states to block Planned Parenthood from receiving some federal funds. The measure, which passed 230-188, would reverse a last-minute rule from the Obama administration that said conservative states can't block the women's health and abortion provider from receiving family planning dollars under the Title X program."

Source:
FORMER PROSECUTOR
Alexander Acosta to Get Nod for Labor
3 days ago
THE LATEST
12:30 PRESS CONFERENCE
New Labor Secretary Announcement Coming
4 days ago
BREAKING
×
×

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