Senate Ethics Committee Clears David Vitter

The Senate ethics committee has dismissed a complaint against Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) for soliciting prostitution.

The complaint was filed by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. The group had charged that Vitter’s solicitation of prostitutes in Washington, D.C. and Louisiana had broken the law and thus was “improper conduct” that ought to be punished. Vitter reportedly used the D.C. Madam’s escort service, in addition to repeatedly visiting a prostitute in New Orleans back in 1999.

The committee dismissed the complaint, according to the letter, because “the conduct at issue” occurred before Vitter’s run for the Senate, he was not charged criminally, and because it “did not involve use of public office or status for improper purposes.”

The letter, signed by all six members of the committee, adds: “The Committee also wishes to make clear that this decision to dismiss this matter without prejudice should not be taken as personal approbation or acceptance by any of the members of the Committee of the kind of conduct alleged in this matter. In fact, if proven to be true, the Members of the Committee would find the alleged conduct of solicitation for prostitution to be reprehensible.”

You can see the letter here.

Update: The response from CREW’s Naomi Seligman is to the point: “The Senate Ethics Committee has once again done what is does best: nothing…. While Deborah Jeane Palfrey, who committed suicide last week, was found guilty of operating a prostitution ring, Sen. Vitter has not been held accountable for his activities. He walks away without even a slap on the wrist.”

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