Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) Named One of the Most Corrupt Members of Congress
Washington, D.C. – Today, for the third time, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) named Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) as one of the most corrupt members of Congress. The morally and ethically bankrupt senator attempted to bribe the Secretary of the Interior and pledged to continue the practice despite new guidance from the Senate Ethics Committee, earning him a spot in CREW’s Most Corrupt Members of Congress report, an annual, bipartisan look at Washington’s worst. Sen. Vitter was also included in CREW’s 2007 and 2011 reports.
“There likely is no senator who has been before the Senate Ethics Committee more often than Sen. Vitter. He has solicited prostitutes, employed a known criminal, and tried to bribe a Cabinet member,” said CREW Executive Director Melanie Sloan. “Time and time again, he has walked away virtually unscathed. What will it take for the Senate Ethics Committee to hold Sen. Vitter responsible for his endless string of misconduct?”
In May 2011, Sen. Vitter threatened to block legislation granting Interior Secretary Ken Salazar a pay increase unless he agreed to issue more deepwater drilling permits. In March 2012, the Senate Ethics Committee issued a letter stating Sen. Vitter’s actions were inappropriate, but refused to take further action because there was “no clear Senate guidance addressing such conduct.” Despite a warning from the Ethics Committee not to engage in similar conduct in the future, Sen. Vitter indicated he would continue to block future salary increases for Secretary Salazar.
“Perhaps the Senate should institute its own three-strike rule: three ethics complaints should be enough for the Ethics Committee to punish misconduct,” continued Ms. Sloan. “Sen. Vitter is hardly the paragon of morality he pretends to be.”
This is the eighth edition of CREW’s Most Corrupt report, an annual look at unethical conduct by members of Congress. This year’s list includes seven Democrats and 13 Republicans; nine are repeat offenders. Since 2005, CREW has named 81 members of Congress to the list, 32 of whom are no longer in office.