CREW: Sen. David Vitter is a Hypocrite, Should be Investigated

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Sen. David Vitter shot himself in the foot this month. The Louisiana senator has been outspoken in his criticism of ACORN, the embattled community organization, for offering financial advice to individuals posing as a pimp and a prostitute. But the Washington watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) filed a complaint Tuesday asking the Louisiana Office of Disciplinary Counsel to investigate Vitter’s violation of the state’s lawyerly conduct rules for his ties to prostitution in Louisiana.

CREW’s press release explains the details:

In 2007, it was revealed that Sen. Vitter’s telephone number was included in the so-called “D.C. Madam,” Deborah Jeane Palfrey’s, list of client telephone numbers. The senator confirmed he had sought Ms. Palfrey’s services, saying in a statement, “this was a very serious sin in my past for which I am, of course, completely responsible.” Two other women also alleged Sen. Vitter had engaged the services of prostitutes. Jeanette Maier, the “Canal Street Madam,” claimed Sen. Vitter visited the New Orleans brothel several times in the mid-1990s. In addition, a woman who worked as a prostitute under the name of Wendy Cortez said Sen. Vitter was a regular client of hers between July and November 1999.

Under D.C. and Louisiana law, it is a crime to solicit for prostitution. CREW filed a complaint against Sen. Vitter with the Senate Ethics Committee, which dismissed the matter without action in September 2008.

“Sen. Vitter’s zeal to see ACORN criminally investigated for offering advice in setting up a prostitution ring reminded me he has yet to be held accountable for his own role in a prostitution ring,” said CREW executive director Melanie Sloan. “While ACORN’s conduct is indefensible, so is Sen. Vitter’s and what is good for the goose is good for the gander.”

It remains unclear whether CREW’s complaint will yield a substantive investigation. But this is clearly bad news for Vitter, who faces a number of tough challengers, including a porn star, for his seat in 2010.

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Corrupt leaders the world over can (and will) try to shut down the truth, but when the truth has millions of people on its side, you can't keep it down for good. And there's no more powerful or urgent argument for your support of Mother Jones' journalism right now than that. We need to raise about $450,000 to hit our online fundraising budget in these next few months, so please read more from Monika and pitch in if you can.

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