Republicans Seem OK With Senator Vitter Visiting Prostitutes and Bribing Government Officials
Not content with just using prostitution services, Republican Senator David Vitter decided to once again play footsie with the law, this time allegedly offering a bribe to Interior Secretary Ken Salazar.
The watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington filed an ethics complaint Tuesday, asking the Senate Select Committee on Ethics to investigate Senator Vitter for bribery. According to the complaint, Vitter demanded that President Barack Obama's Interior Secretary, Ken Salazar, approve a series of deepwater oil well permits in exchange for a salary increase.
Vitter didn't even try to hide his blatant bribery attempt. "Last Friday, I was asked to support legislation in the Senate to grant you a nearly $20,000 salary increase," Vitter wrote in a letter to Salazar. "Given the completely unsatisfactory pace of your department's issuance of new deepwater exploratory permits in the Gulf, I cannot possibly give my assent."
"[W]hen the rate of permits issued for new deepwater exploratory wells reaches pre-moratorium levels (so 6 per month), I will end my efforts to block your salary increase."
That, my friends, is what we call a smoking gun. Senator Vitter said he would vote to increase Salazar's pay, if and when Salazar did what Vitter wanted — and approved more deepwater oil permits.
Salazar told Vitter to get lost, and reported the incident to the Senate Leadership of both parties.
"[A]s the Senate has considered the disparity of Cabinet salaries relating to the Emoluments Clause, a Member of the Senate has taken the position, in writing, that his vote on the issue is dependent upon the outcomes of his attempted coercion of public acts here at the Department," Vitter wrote in a letter to the Senate Majority Leader, Democrat Harry Reid, and Senate Minority Leader, Republican Mitch McConnell.
"That position is wrong, and it must be made perfectly clear that his attempt cannot and will not affect the execution of the solemn legal responsibilities that the Department undertakes on behalf of the American people," Salazar added.
For those unclear with the law, federal law prohibits precisely this kind of tit for tat trading. Per the relevant statute, “[w]hoever directly or indirectly, corruptly gives, offers or promises anything of value to any public official... to influence any official act" he gets two years in federal prison and/or a giant fine, or both. Now that we have proof that a sitting U.S. Senator tried to bribe a government official, will anyone in the Republican Party call for Vitter to resign? The same people that were angry that Anthony Weiner tweeted pictures of his junk will surely rise up to stand against an actual, real, no-kidding scandal, right?
Keep this in mind the next time someone tries to pass themselves off as the party of virtue: according to the Republicans, prostitution and bribery are OK; tweeting hot college women sex pics is not.
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