By never referring to his criminal act of soliciting prostitutes (only vaguely calling it a "very serious sin") and by only facing pre-screened audiences who will never ask him tough questions, Hookerlover David Vitter was hoping that people would just forget about his little transgression over a number of years... and over a number of hookers. Well, this week has demonstrated that both Democrats and non-partisan ethics organizations will not let the voters forget about Vitter's law-breaking and dumbfounding hypocrisy.
First, Democratic strategist James Carville, the Ragin' Cajun, who is from Louisiana, sent a fundraising e-mail on behalf of Democratic Congressman Charlie Melancon, hitting Vitter on the issues and on his hypocrisy, but also dipping a toe in the water of alluding to Vitter's cheating on his wife with prostitutes by highlighting Congressman Melancon's stable, loving, hooker-free family life:
He [Vitter] ran for office as a squeaky-clean reformer, and then voted against ethics reform. He took hundreds of thousands of dollars from financial interests, and then voted for the kind of rampant deregulation that allowed huge Ponzi schemes to steal millions from Louisiana families. He rails against excessive spending, then crammed almost $250 million in pet projects into a recent spending bill. ...
He's [Melancon's] an honest man -- which to me means you can figure out what he's going to do by listening to his words. He doesn't preach family values. He lives them in his more than 37-year marriage to his wife, Peachy.
Second, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) filed a bar complaint against Hookerlover with the Louisiana Office of Disciplinary Counsel for professional misconduct:
In 2007, it was revealed that Sen. Vitter's telephone number was included in the so-called "D.C. Madam," Deborah Jeane Palfrey's, list of client telephone numbers. The senator confirmed he had sought Ms. Palfrey's services, saying in a statement, "this was a very serious sin in my past for which I am, of course, completely responsible." ...
Under D.C. and Louisiana law, it is a crime to solicit for prostitution. ...
Louisiana Rule of Professional Conduct 8.4(b) provides it is professional misconduct for a lawyer to "commit a criminal act especially one that reflects adversely on the lawyer's honesty, trustworthiness or fitness as a lawyer in other respects." By repeatedly committing the crime of soliciting for prostitution, Sen. Vitter violated the rules of professional conduct for lawyers and should be investigated and disciplined for his misconduct.
The Senate Ethics Committee hasn't bothered to do anything because, during the time in question, Vitter was only in the Louisiana state Legislature and U.S. House - not in the U.S. Senate. However, as far as the rules for professional conduct before the Lousiana Bar are concerned, there appear to be no statutes of limitations. Unethical and illegal actions are perpetual compromises to one's "fitness as a lawyer."
What could this complaint result in? I would imagine that Vitter's disbarment would be a potentially discussed outcome. Not only would that serve as a constant reminder to voters that Vitter is a hypocritical, unethical, law-breaking liar, but it would also be the just course of action.
Third, following CREW's ethics complaint, Congressman Melancon took on Vitter's "very serious sin" head on in another e-mail to supporters:
This morning, I picked up The Advocate and read that a government watchdog group in Washington had filed a complaint against David Vitter for repeatedly breaking the law. I guess they're trying to have him disbarred.
That story got me thinking -- what David Vitter confessed to wasn't just a "serious sin," it was likely a crime. And so far Vitter hasn't been charged with anything. He's still got his law license. He's still a U.S. Senator.
The way that Congressman Melancon frames the issue is right on. He is not criticizing Vitter's personal life - he is reminding us that Vitter committed crimes against the state and has yet to either face the music or even explicitly own up to it. Vitter is a hypocrite, a coward, and a liar.
Fourth, to cap off Hookerlover's latest lousy week, the resplendent-as-always Rachel Maddow tells The Tale of David Vitter and interviews CREW Executive Director Melanie Sloan:
"The hypocrisy is astonishing and really can't be stomached," said Melanie Sloan. Word up, Ms. Sloan. Word up.
Something tells me that this won't be Vitter's last lousy week of the 2010 campaign cycle. If you want to make matters worse for David Vitter, the U.S. Senate's biggest coward, make a contribution to Hookerlover's Democratic opponent, Congressman Melancon, via the Expand the Map! ActBlue page.