Senate Ethics Committee Dismisses Vitter’s Complaint Against Reid, Boxer

AP

The Senate Ethics Committee on Tuesday dismissed a complaint filed by Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) against Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA).

Vitter requested earlier this month that the committee carry out an investigation into what he called “attempted bribery” on Reid’s and Boxer’s part, after reports emerged that Senate Democrats were drafting a plan to deny government contributions to lawmakers’ health care plans if there is “probable cause” they solicited prostitutes. The plan would have raised the specter of Vitter’s 2007 prostitution scandal if he continued to push an amendment repealing federal contributions to congressional staffs’ health care coverage.

The Senate Ethics Committee’s chief counsel, John C. Sassaman, wrote in a letter to Vitter that the complaint Sens. Boxer and Reid and their staffs violated committee rules in proposing the draft legislation and circulating it to the press had no merit.

From the letter:

The Committee has previously concluded that mere allegations, with no evidence or information to support their substantive merit, are insufficient to extend the Committee’s investigative process. The complaint offers no concrete information to support the allegation that Senator Reid, Senator Boxer, or their staffs were involved with the legislative language drafted by unknown parties that you described. Further, an inquiry involving speculation over draft legislative language not part of any bill or any proceeding would be unprecedented.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Catherine Thompson is a senior editor for Talking Points Memo in New York City. She came to the site in 2013 and reported on national affairs. Previously, she worked as a research assistant to investigative reporter Wayne Barrett. She can be reached at catherine@talkingpointsmemo.com.
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