Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning
On Tuesday, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) submitted a complaint to the Senate Select Committee on Ethics [PDF] alleging that Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) violated a federal bribery statute when he submitted a May 23, 2011 letter to Department of Interior Secretary Ken Salazar threatening to block legislation that would provide Salazar "a nearly $20,000 salary increase" until the Interior Secretary began to issue permits for deepwater exploratory wells in the Gulf at the same pace that permits were being issued before Salazar's moratorium issued in the wake of the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster last year.
The statute, 18 U.S.C. § 201 (b) "Bribery of Public Officials and Witnesses" makes it a crime to offer or promise "anything of value to any public official" in order "to influence any official act" and CREW alleges that "Vitter's conduct is exactly the type of quid pro quo the bribery statute was intended to prevent."
While a scant reference to the bribery allegation can be found in the Wall Street Journal, and more extended coverage was provided by The Hill and by Politico, the same corporate-owned media outfits which hounded Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY) from office for sexually inappropriate Twitter messages that did not amount to a crime, have remained largely mum about Vitter, the Senate's serial hooker chaser's alleged criminal activities, and his role in a taxpayer-funded "Con-Air."
Want to know why?...
Serial Hooker Chaser?
In July 2007 Vitter's name surfaced on the published list of the phone records of Deborah Jean Palfrey (aka "The DC Madam"). The records reveal that Palfrey telephoned Vitter five times while he was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, including two calls he received while roll call votes were underway.
Unable to deny the stone cold records, Vitter was forced to admit:
Vitter also said he'd "received forgiveness from God."
Now, as an atheist, I don't feel all that qualified to speak to "sin" or "forgiveness from God." As an attorney, however, I will note that solicitation of prostitution is a crime in Washington D.C.
Where Vitter never faced criminal charges for this admitted crime, the woman on the other end of those calls, the DC Madam, was "convicted on April 15, 2008 of racketeering, using the mail for illegal purposes, and money laundering. Slightly over two weeks later, facing a prison sentence of five or six years, she was found hanged in an apparent suicide.
Equal justice under law?
After the DC Madam story broke, Jeanette Maier (aka the "Canal Street Madam"), stepped forward, claiming that, beginning in 1990, Vitter began using the services of her establishment, separately from the DC Madam's, at a cost of $300/hour.
Vitter's taxpayer-funded 'Con-Air'
Last August, in "ACORN Slayer David Vitter: Hypocrisy on Parade", we referred to Vitter as a "Teflon Senator" who was sailing towards re-election despite his links to hookers and Brent Furer. Vitter not only employed Furer to oversee women's issues for his office, at taxpayer expense, even after Furer plead guilty to an assault in which he held a knife to his girlfriend's throat and stabbed her in her hand, but went so far as to foot U.S. taxpayers with the bill for the convicted Furer's travel to appear in court on the assault charge and a DUI.
Vitter then solidified his contempt for issues surrounding the abuse of women when, according to his Wikipedia entry, he opposed an amendment to the 2010 Defense Appropriations bill offered by Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) which forbade "federal contractors from forcing victims of sexual assault, battery and discrimination to submit to binding arbitration." Franken offered the amendment after "Jamie Leigh Jones...alleged...she was drugged and gang-raped by employees of Halliburton/KBR." The amendment passed 68 to 30. Every female Republican voted for it.
MSM complicity in right-wing smear campaigns
An intriguing feature, noted in our previous article, is the fact that Vitter served as the Senate point man in the hard-right's effort to destroy democracy and verifiable truth by smearing and then defunding ACORN.
The real story behind the ACORN pimp hoax was the role it played in the still ongoing GOP effort to suppress voting by minorities and the working class --- people who are not inclined to vote for the Plutocrat (aka "Republican") Party.
As much as one would like to give the MSM the benefit of the doubt, to suggest that they were merely taken in by the scurrilous deceit emerging from the likes of Rightwing scam-artist and propagandist Andrew Breitbart and the convicted federal criminal James O'Keefe, the MSM has worked hard to demonstrate otherwise.
After they included statements in articles that were proven to be false, The New York Times repeatedly refused to set the record straight. Following a months-long, extraordinary Brad Friedman-led effort to compel America's "Paper of Record" to print the truth, the Times belatedly offered up a chiseling retraction of sorts --- too little, too late to prevent ACORN's demise.
So how is it that Weiner, whose Twitter indiscretions, did not amount to a crime made the 24/7 tabloid-like news cycle until he was drummed from office, but scarcely a word is said about Vitter who faces allegations about solicitation of prostitution and now bribery, which, if true would be crimes? (Bribery is an impeachable offense).
The difference, as noted by Alternet's Amanda Marcotte, is that Weiner, unlike Vitter, was the target of a right-wing smear campaign. Weiner was a key member of Congress who was pushing to have U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas investigated by the Justice Department for bribery and disbarred by the Missouri bar for perjury.
The basis for an investigation, disbarment and possible impeachment and criminal prosecution of the ethically-challenged Supreme Court Justice were set forth most recently by The BRAD BLOG in "The 'Judicial Insider Trading' of Justice Clarence Thomas and Wife 'Ginni'" --- another corruption-on-high story that has gone largely unnoticed by major sectors of the corporate, and otherwise mainstream media.
That story exposes a major conflict-of-interest on the part of the corporate media that perhaps goes a long way in explaining the disparity of coverage.
Clarence Thomas provided the critical fifth vote in the 5-4 Citizens United decision. The MSM is owned by giant corporate conglomerates. Corporate campaign funds are a major source of media revenues. If Thomas' conflict-of-interest were to invalidate the Citizens United decision, the corporate-owned media could lose billions in political ads (aka corporate propaganda) revenues.
The next MSM story this writer reads which acknowledges that conflict-of-interest will be the first.
CREW Chairperson Melanie Sloan explaining her organization's complaint on the new Countdown with Keith Olbermann...
Ernest A. Canning has been an active member of the California state bar since 1977. Mr. Canning has received both undergraduate and graduate degrees in political science as well as a juris doctor. He is also a Vietnam vet (4th Infantry, Central Highlands 1968).