Vitter calls for ethics probe of Reid, Boxer, claims 'bribery'

Sept. 13, 2013 at 4:18 PM
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WASHINGTON, Sept. 13 (UPI) -- A Senate Republican requested an ethics investigation of Democrats who hinted they may use his personal scandal to fight his effort to defund part of Obamacare.

Sen. David Vitter, R-La., has been demanding a Senate vote on a proposal to repeal federal contributions to help pay for healthcare coverage for members of Congress under the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare. The provision was included in the 2010 legislation by Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa.

Politico Friday reported Senate Democrats were preparing legislation to deny such healthcare contributions if there is "probable cause" a recipient solicited prostitutes.

Vitter was caught up in a prostitution scandal in 2007, when his phone number showed up during an investigation into a Washington prostitution ring. The Senate Select Committee on Ethics decided in 2008 not to pursue the matter because Vitter's involvement in the prostitution scandal occurred when he was a member of the House of Representatives.

It was unclear whether Senate Democrats would formally propose the legislation, but Vitter said in a statement Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Bev., was "acting like an old-time Vegas mafia thug, and a desperate one at that."

"This just shows how far Washington insiders will go to protect their special Obamacare exemption," he said.

Vitter followed up that statement with a letter Friday to the ethics committee, requesting an investigation into whether Reid, Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., "and their respective staffs violated the Committee's Rules by proposing and circulating through the press legislation that ties Members' personal healthcare benefits to their performance of specific acts and votes."

"This is attempted bribery, and the exact sort of behavior that the Senate Ethics Committee has previously condemned," Vitter wrote.

After Vitter was caught up in the prostitution scandal, he admitted he had committed a "serious sin" but did not admit he was a client. He was re-elected to the Senate in 2010.

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