Covering Louisiana

Sep 20, 2011 11:08 AM by Kate Durio

Sen. David Vitter Named One of the Most Corrupt Members of Congress

Sen. David Vitter has been named as one of the Most Corrupt Members of Congress by the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington in a scathing report released today.

The organization says "from misusing taxpayer funds to aid a violent criminal to blatantly trying to bribe the Secretary of the Interior, it has been another bad year for shameless Sen. David Vitter".

In the report, the organization calls Vitter "morally and ethically bankrupt".

"Sen. Vitter solicited prostitution, employed a known criminal, and even tried to bribe a cabinet member," said CREW Executive Director Melanie Sloan. "What will it take for the Senate Ethics Committee to take notice of Sen. Vitter's endless misconduct?"

Questions have surfaced regarding Sen. Vitter's relationship with aide Brent Furer. Furer served as Sen. Vitter's legislative aide for women's issues despite a conviction related to brutally assaulting his girlfriend in 2008. While the senator's office claimed Furer was on leave pending resolution of the case, Senate records show he was paid for all but five days of his time off. Sen. Vitter's office also allowed Furer to travel to Louisiana at taxpayer expense in 2007 in order to appear in court to face a DWI charge, and again in 2008 to sign his probation agreement. Only after the scandal surfaced nearly two years later did Furer resign.

"It is hard to imagine any senator, much less a "family values" politician like Sen. Vitter retaining the services of a staff member with legal problems as serious as those of Mr. Furer,: said Ms. Sloan. "Then again, Sen. Vitter's history reveals he isn't particularly concerned with the treatment of women."

More recently, Sen. Vitter threatened to withhold Interior Secretary Ken Salazar's salary increase unless he agreed to issue more deepwater drilling permits. Secretary Salazar, showing far greater integrity than Sen. Vitter, not only declined to accept the bribe, he asked the Senate to drop the bill that would have provided him a raise.

This is the 7th edition of the CREW's Most Corrupt Report, an annual look at a bipartisan collection of Washington's worst. This year's list includes seven Democrats, and twelve Republicans. Five are repeat offenders. Since 2005, CREW has named 70 members of Congress to the list, 32 of whom are no longer in office. Vitter was also included in the 2007 report.

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) is a non-profit legal watchdog group dedicated to holding public officials accountable for their actions. For more information, please visit www.citizensforethics.org.

You can read the complete report on Vitter here: http://www.citizensforethics.org/mostcorrupt/entry/david-vitter

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