Kudos to the Louisiana Democratic Party who stood up and filed ethics charges again David Vitter for using taxpayer-funded town hall meetings to engage in campaign activity. This is a in direct violation of 31 U.S.C 1301
Vitter has been bashing his likely opponent - Representative Charlie Melancon - at his town hall meetings. At which he won't take questions not pre-screened.
Here is the letter sent to the Senate ethics committee where Vitter is alleged to have engaged in two town hall meetings under the guise of his Senatorial duties but instead used it as an opportunity to camapign against his opponent.
Hopefully this will send a message to other elected officials that are using the health care debate to play petty Partisan politics. At least this will put them on notice that they too will be watched
The Press Release sent by the Louisiana Democratic Party
Baton Rouge) Today, Louisiana Democratic Party Chairman Chris Whittington filed a sworn complaint with the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Ethics accusing David Vitter of using taxpayer-funded town hall meetings to engage in campaign activity.
Whittington noted in the letter that Senator Vitter has used several taxpayer-funded town hall meetings to attack his potential re-election opponent, U.S. Representative Charlie Melancon. At one town hall meeting, Vitter encouraged the audience to "keep up the pressure on" Melancon.
"Senator Vitter’s repeated attacks on his likely campaign opponent indicate these events were political and not official in nature," Whittington wrote.
According to news reports, Vitter has repeatedly attacked Melancon on several issues on which the two actually agree, such as their opposition to a health care reform bill and the climate change bill recently passed by the U.S. House of Representatives. [Houma Today, 8/4/09; Tri-Parish Times, 8/4/09; L’Observatuer, 8/18/09]
"These attacks seem to have been motivated by campaign purposes, not honest differences in position...and constitute a potential ethical violation on the part of Senator Vitter," Whittington said in the letter.
At Vitter’s town hall discussions on health care this month, news reports indicate that the Senator only answers questions submitted in writing and approved by his official staff. Vitter has also used the tax-payer funded town hall meetings to collect information for his campaign and solicit contributions to his campaign fund. [Alexandria Town Talk 8/9/09; Monroe News-Star, 8/19/09; USA Today, 8/20/09]
"Instead of using town hall meetings to foster a free and open discussion on important issues, Senator Vitter has essentially staged taxpayer-funded campaign events to repeatedly launch misleading attacks on his potential opponent and build his campaign’s war chest," said Louisiana Democratic Party Spokesman Kevin Franck. "Once again David Vitter has given into the temptation to cross an ethical and legal boundary."