CREW Files Bar Complaint Against Sen. Vitter

Tue Sep 29, 2009 11:11am EDT

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Vitter Seeks Investigation of ACORN for Assisting Fake Prostitution Ring; CREW
Seeks Investigation of Vitter for Role in Real Prostitution Ring
WASHINGTON--(Business Wire)--
Today, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington filed a bar
complaint with the Louisiana Office of Disciplinary Counsel against Senator
David Vitter (R-LA) for violating Louisiana`s rules of professional conduct for
lawyers. 

In 2007, it was revealed that Sen. Vitter`s telephone number was included in the
so-called "D.C. Madam," Deborah Jeane Palfrey`s, list of client telephone
numbers. The senator confirmed he had sought Ms. Palfrey`s services, saying in a
statement, "this was a very serious sin in my past for which I am, of course,
completely responsible." Two other women also alleged Sen. Vitter had engaged
the services of prostitutes. Jeanette Maier, the "Canal Street Madam," claimed
Sen. Vitter visited the New Orleans brothel several times in the mid-1990s. In
addition, a woman who worked as a prostitute under the name of Wendy Cortez said
Sen. Vitter was a regular client of hers between July and November 1999. 

Under D.C. and Louisiana law, it is a crime to solicit for prostitution. CREW
filed a complaint against Sen. Vitter with the Senate Ethics Committee, which
dismissed the matter without action in September 2008. 

Louisiana Rule of Professional Conduct 8.4(b) provides it is professional
misconduct for a lawyer to "commit a criminal act especially one that reflects
adversely on the lawyer's honesty, trustworthiness or fitness as a lawyer in
other respects." By repeatedly committing the crime of soliciting for
prostitution, Sen. Vitter violated the rules of professional conduct for lawyers
and should be investigated and disciplined for his misconduct. 

CREW executive director Melanie Sloan stated, "Sen. Vitter`s zeal to see ACORN
criminally investigated for offering advice in setting up a prostitution ring
reminded me he has yet to be held accountable for his own role in a prostitution
ring. While ACORN`s conduct is indefensible, so is Sen. Vitter`s and what is
good for the goose is good for the gander." 

13 former prostitutes were forced to testify at the trial of the DC Madam, who
committed suicide shortly after her conviction. Sloan noted that one, a former
Navy supply officer and Naval Academy instructor, lost her job because the Navy
requires those who serve "to adhere to a standard of conduct that reflects the
Navy`s values of honor, courage and commitment." Sloan said, "It is a shame the
Senate has no such standard of conduct. It will be interesting to see what sort
of standard the Louisiana Disciplinary Board chooses to apply." 

Click here to read CREW`s bar complaint and click here to read the accompanying
exhibits. 

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) is a non-profit
legal watchdog group dedicated to holding public officials accountable for their
actions. For more information, please visit www.citizensforethics.org or contact
Naomi Seligman at 202.408.5565 // nseligman@citizensforethics.org.

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW)
Naomi Seligman
202.408.5565
nseligman@citizensforethics.org



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