In the wake of a succession of adultery-related scandals by GOP “family values” Christian politicians, including Gov. Mark Sanford of South Carolina and Sens. John Ensign of Nevada and David Vitter of Louisiana, a few years ago, Washington Republicans spoke with one voice: We should pray for their families, but these politicians should not resign — their fates should be decided by the voters in their states.
Now, hot on the heels of revelations that Rep. Anthony Weiner exchanged lewd Twitter photos with women he did not otherwise know, Republicans are again speaking with one voice: Screw Weiner’s family and his constituents, he should resign immediately.
Neither Gov. Sanford nor Sen. Ensign resigned when their adulteries were revealed — Ensign finally left the Senate this year after the Ethics Committee referred his case to the Department of Justice.
But what Weiner did pales in comparison with the criminal behavior by Sen. Vitter, who repeatedly paid prostitutes for sex, and who is still serving in the United States Senate. In case you have forgotten the details of Vitter’s prostitution scandals, here’s a five-minute video retelling, titled “Forgotten Crimes,” that was produced by the Democratic Party:
Here’s the recap from Vitter’s Wikipedia page:
In early July 2007, Vitter’s phone number was included in a published list of phone records of Pamela Martin and Associates, a company owned and run by Deborah Jeane Palfrey, also known as the “D.C. Madam”, convicted by the U.S. government for running a prostitution service. Hustler identified the phone number and contacted Vitter’s office to ask about his connection to Palfrey. The following day, Vitter issued a written statement:
This was a very serious sin in my past for which I am, of course, completely responsible. Several years ago, I asked for and received forgiveness from God and my wife in confession and marriage counseling. Out of respect for my family, I will keep my discussion of the matter there — with God and them. But I certainly offer my deep and sincere apologies to all I have disappointed and let down in any way.
The statement containing Vitter’s apology said his telephone number was included in phone records dating from his days as a member of the House of Representatives. Phone records show that Vitter’s number was called by Palfrey’s service five times, the first on October 12, 1999, and the last on February 27, 2001. Two calls were placed while House roll call votes were in progress.
On July 16, 2007, after a week of self-imposed seclusion, Vitter emerged and called a news conference. Standing next to his wife, Vitter asked the public for forgiveness. Following Vitter’s remarks, Wendy Vitter, his wife, spoke. Both refused to answer any questions.
As background, several news outlets reported that in May 1999, Vitter replaced Congressman Bob Livingston after Livingston resigned due to an adultery scandal. Vitter said about Livingston’s decision to resign, “It’s obviously a tremendous loss for the state. I think Livingston’s stepping down makes a very powerful argument that Clinton should resign as well and move beyond this mess”, referring to Bill Clinton’s Monica Lewinsky scandal.
Vitter will not face criminal charges due to the statute of limitations.
Vitter incurred significant legal and public relations expenses in his efforts to avoid giving testimony in the Palfrey trial and to respond to the ethics complaint. Consequently, his attorneys sought permission from the Federal Election Commission to use campaign funds to pay for these expenses. The Commission, along partisan lines, couldn’t agree whether funds could be used for reimbursing costs related to the Palfrey trial but did allow them to pay for expenses connected to the Ethics Committee complaint.
Canal Street Madam
On July 10, 2007, Jeanette Maier, the “Canal Street Madam”, alleged that Vitter was a customer on more than one occasion in the 1990s, when Maier was identified by federal prosecutors as operating a $300 per hour brothel. The Times-Picayune reported that “Maier offered no evidence or documents to support her claim.” A polygraph (lie detector) test was arranged for a New Orleans prostitute who claimed Vitter hired her and had sexual intercourse with her. The prostitute passed the test.
Vitter was not called to testify against the DC Madam, and the Senate Ethics Committee dropped its investigation into his scandalous and criminal behavior. In 2010, (mostly Republican) voters in Louisiana endorsed his whoremongering ways by reelecting him to the Senate in a 57-38 percent landslide.