Senate Ethics Committee Lets Sen. Vitter Off the Hook Again
On September 22, 2010, CREW filed a complaint with the Senate Ethics Committee against Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) after it was revealed the senator’s office improperly paid for a staff member’s trip to tend to personal legal matters. The staff member, Brent Furer, now infamous for serving as Sen. Vitter’s legislative aide for women’s issues even after he brutally assaulted his girlfriend in 2008, flew to Louisiana at taxpayer expense in 2007 in order to appear in court to face a DWI charge, and again in 2008 to sign his probation agreement.
CREW has requested the Ethics Committee fully investigate the misuse of federal funds, disbelieving Sen. Vitter’s claim he had no idea that taxpayer funding was being used to pay for his trusted aide to fly to Louisiana for court appearances.
The letter from the Senate Ethics Committee indicates the committee did conduct an investigation, but found no evidence Sen. Vitter or his staff were aware of Mr. Furer’s court appearances of legal issues until they were reported in the press. As a result, the committee
determined there was “no substantial, credible evidence that Senator Vitter violated Senate rules,” and dismissed the complaint.
Not culpable for soliciting prostitutes, for keeping on staff an aide convicted of assaulting his girlfriend and driving while intoxicated, or for helping that aide defray the cost of his legal expenses by flying him to Louisiana at taxpayer expense. Maybe next time. And with Sen. Vitter, you can rest assured, there is always a next time.