Wednesday, June 22, 2011
The brilliant and glamorous Melanie Sloan of CREW has filed an ethics complaint against Sen. David “Diaper Boy” Vitters.
CREW, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington has asked the Senate Select Committee on Ethics to investigate Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) for bribery.
The complaint stems from a letter Sen. Vitter sent to Ken Salazar, Secretary of the Department of the Interior, threatening to vote against the secretary’s pay raise unless and until the department begins issuing new deepwater exploratory permits.
“Whether it is a defense contractor buying French furniture for a congressman in exchange for earmarks, or a senator who ties a department secretary’s pay raise to approving permits, bribery is bribery,” said CREW Executive Director Melanie Sloan.
“Paying off government leaders to influence official actions is against the law, period.”
The May 23, 2011 letter Sen. Vitter sent a letter to Secretary Salazar states that he intends to block legislation granting the secretary’s pay raise until the Department of Interior began issuing six permits for new deepwater exploratory wells each month. The Vitter letter states:
Last Friday, I was asked to support legislation in the Senate to grant you a nearly $20,000 salary increase. 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.
The federal bribery statute makes it a crime to offer anything of value to any public official with the intent to influence any official act. Sen. Vitter’s offer may constitute a bribe.