Friday, July 20, 2007

Ethics complaint filed against ex-DC Madam's client/Senator

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Ethics complaint filed against ex-DC Madam's client/Senator

Senator David Vitter, the Louisiana Republican who has admitted to being a client of former 'DC Madam' Deborah Jeane Palfrey, was accused of violating the Senate's Code of Conduct by a government watchdog group Thursday afternoon.

"Senator Vitter's solicitation of at least one prostitute was not merely, as he has stated, 'a serious sin,' it was a violation of criminal law," said Melanie Sloan, Executive Director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, which filed a complaint with the Senate's Ethics Committee. "The Senate Ethics Committee should commence an investigation into Senator Vitter's conduct and hold him accountable."

Unlike the House of Representatives, Senate rules allow outside groups to file ethics complaints against members. Earlier in the year, the group filed a complaint against Senator Pete Domenici (R-NM) for allegations of pressuring former US Attorney David Iglesias over a corruption investigation. The Committee subsequently took up the complaint.

Washington, DC and Louisiana authorities are likely unable to charge Vitter with any crimes, as he appears to have passed the statute of limitations in both jurisdictions. However, CREW said that the Senate could still punish the Republican Senator.

"That type of conduct by a Senator has been characterized as 'improper conduct which may reflect upon the Senate,'" the group said in a statement. "This rule is intended to protect the integrity and reputation of the Senate as a whole."

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