Vitter Can’t Use Campaign Funds to Pay for Madam-Related Legal Fees

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August 20, 2008 2:29 p.m.

Looks like the price that Sen. David Vitter (R-LA), who last year was identified as a client of the “DC Madam,” the late Deborah Palfrey, will be paying for his transgression just got even steeper. The Hill reports that, according to a draft opinion released by the Federal Election Commission (FEC), Vitter won’t be able to use campaign funds to pay over $160,000 in legal fees associated with the scandal.

Vitter has so far accumulated over $200,000 in legal bills. The FEC opinion allows him to use campaign funds to pay for only $31,000 of that figure — the amount related to a Senate ethics committee probe. It does not allow him to tap his campaign coffers to pay for hiring a lawyer to help quash a subpoena issued by Palfrey’s defense, or to pay for monitoring Palfrey’s criminal proceedings.

Vitter, who is up for re-election in 2010, admitted last year that he had been a client of Palfrey’s firm, and apologized for “a very serious sin in my past for which I am, of course, completely responsible.” He has already spent $70,000 of his own money on his Palfrey-related legal expenses.

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