In it, but not of it. TPM DC

Vitter Claims Disgraced Staffer Didn't Work on Women's Issues; Records Say Otherwise


Below is a copy of the print edition of the Capitol Advantage Guidebook directory of Women's Issues legislative assistants for the 111th Congress (which is to say, after the knife attack in 2008), and passed my way by a source.

We've reviewed other, similar directories which also list Furer as a women's issues LA.

These guidebooks are put together by a handful of companies, which get their information directly from legislative offices.

Furthermore, in his capacity as Vitter's Women's Issues LA, Furer worked with at least one prominent Louisiana advocate -- Beth Meeks, executive director of the Louisiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence -- on domestic violence legislation, and she was personally informed that Furer was Vitter's point man on the issue.

According to ABC News, Meeks "had been in Washington in June - just before news of the incident went public."

A call placed this evening to Vitter's congressional spokesman Joel DiGrado was not returned.

At his press conference today, Vitter was asked why Furer was assigned to work on women's issues even after Vitter knew about the assault.

"Uh, he was not," Vitter said.

To clarify, a reporter asked, "He was not assigned to women's issues?"

"Correct," Vitter responded. "And that's just one of several issues that have been completely misreported. Tonya Newman, Nicole Hebert in my office are assigned to women's issues. That's always been the case."

Tonya Newman, according to Legistorm, serves as his Deputy Chief of Staff, and has served over the course of years as both Chief of Staff and Communications Director, while bouncing back and forth between Vitter's personal office and his Banking and Urban Affairs Committee office. Nicole Hebert works out of his Lafayette office as a liaison on women's issues.

You can see the entire exchange below.

About The Author


Brian Beutler is TPM's senior congressional reporter. Since 2009, he's led coverage of health care reform, Wall Street reform, taxes, the GOP budget, the government shutdown fight and the debt limit fight. He can be reached at