Ethics panel clears Louisiana Sen. Vitter

March 31, 2012 at 3:27 PM
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WASHINGTON, March 31 (UPI) -- An attempt by U.S. Sen. David Vitter, R-La., to keep Interior Secretary Ken Salazar from getting a raise was legal but "inappropriate," an ethics panel says.

The Senate Ethics Committee ruled Friday that Vitter did not break the law or violate Senate rules in 2011 when he tried to use the pay increase to get more deep-water drilling permits for oil in the Gulf of Mexico, Roll Call reported. Citizens for Ethics and Responsibility in Washington filed the complaint.

"While the committee found there was no substantial credible evidence that you violated the law or Senate rules, it did conclude that it is inappropriate to condition support for a Secretary's personal salary increase directly on his or her performance of a specific official act," the committee wrote Vitter on Thursday.

Vitter hailed the decision as a vindication in a statement.

"I'm glad that I killed Ken Salazar's salary increase -- he has completely failed us on energy policy," Vitter said. "And I'll absolutely place a hold on any raise for him in the future."

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