David Vitter

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David Bruce Vitter is the Junior Senator from Louisiana. He was formerly a Republican member of the United States House of Representatives, first elected in 1999, representing the First Congressional District of Louisiana.


Record and controversies

Congressional scorecards

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Organization 2007 Scorecard
Score - Agree ratio
2008 Scorecard
Score - Agree ratio
American Civil Liberties Union not avail. not avail.
American Conservative Union 96 - 24/25 not avail.
AFSCME 0 - 0/7 not avail.
Americans for Democratic Action 10 - 2/20 5 - 1/20
Club for Growth not avail. not avail.
Drum Major Institute not avail. not avail.
Family Research Council 100 - 9/9 100 - 9/9
Information Technology Industry Council 80 - 4/5 80 - 4/5
League of Conservation Voters not avail. 0 - 0/11
National Association for the Advancement of Colored People not avail. not avail.
U.S. Chamber of Commerce 73 - 8/11 not avail.

Iraq War

Vitter voted for the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002 that started the Iraq War.[1]

For more information see the chart of U.S. House of Representatives votes on the Iraq War.

Environmental record

For more information on environmental legislation, see the Energy and Environment Policy Portal

Senate ethics committee clears Vitter of ties to Abramoff scandal

The Louisiana Jena Band of Choctaws accused Vitter of being "in cahoots" with Jack Abramoff and his attempts to stymie the tribe's casino plans. The Senate Indian Affairs Committee found the allegations had no factual basis, with chairman John McCain (R-Ariz.) saying "The committee has seen absolutely no evidence whatsoever that Senator Vitter's opposition to (the proposed casino) had to do with anything other than his long-standing opposition to gambling." [2]

Main article: Abramoff-Reed Indian Gambling Scandal

Hurricane Katrina

In the wake of 2005's Hurricane Katrina, while New Orleans' flood levels were still rising in all areas, Vitter made an inaccurate statement that received notable media attention.

"In the metropolitan area in general, in the huge majority of areas, it's not rising at all. It's the same or it may be lowering slightly. In some parts of New Orleans, because of the 17th Street breach, it may be rising and that seemed to be the case in parts of downtown.

"I don't want to alarm everybody that, you know, New Orleans is filling up like a bowl. That's just not happening," said Vitter on August 30. [1]

In later days, Vitter gave the federal government's emergency response an "F grade" during an interview on Fox News's Hannity & Colmes, but avoided criticising US President George W. Bush. [2]

DC Madam scandal

On July 9, 2007, Vitter released an apology after revealing that his telephone number appeared in the phone records of "Pamela Martin and Associates," a prostitution ring in the Washington, D.C. area organized by Deborah Jeane Palfrey, who faces federal racketeering charges on the matter. The phone records were released on the Internet that day after a judge lifted a restraining order which had prevented their publication. In the Senator's statement, he said that "this was a very serious sin in my past for which I am, of course, completely responsible." Vitter was the first member of Congress to be caught up in the scandal. During his senatorial campaign in 2006, Vitter was accused of having an affair with a prostitute in New Orleans, an accusation which he denied. [3]

Revelations of brothel patronage in Louisiana

Following disclosure of Vitter's association with the "DC Madam scandal," a former New Orleans madam who operated a high-profile brothel there said that Vitter was a client at her establishment as well. Jeanette Maier, the brothel operator, argued that Vitter was being unfairly smeared for his indiscretions, and in spite of his actions he was nonetheless a "good man." [4]

Possible resignation and replacement

Following revelations that Vitter had frequented brothels in both Washington, DC and New Orleans, Louisiana, top Louisiana Republicans discussed the possibility of asking Vitter to resign. The discussions suggested that if Vitter were asked to resign, the resignation would be part of a deal with Democratic Governor Kathleen Blanco, wherein she would appoint a Republican replacement for Vitter, most likely former Governor David Treen. [5]

Vitter speaks out

On July 16, 2007, following a week of silence on the matter, Vitter denied having any relationship with prostitutes in New Orleans, but again confirmed having made calls to the DC Madam prostitution ring. His wife, Wendy, spoke with him, stating that she had forgiven her husband several years ago, upon finding out about the escort service. She pleaded for her family's privacy regarding the issue. The senator, who has focused on family-values in his campaigns, said he had been "trying to live up to the important values we believe" since admitting to his mistakes, vowing to resume his work in the Senate. [6]

Watchdog group calls for ethics inquiry

On July 19, 2007, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) filed a complaint with the Senate ethics committee to investigate whether Vitter's actions were considered "improper conduct which may reflect upon the Senate," a violation of Senate rules. CREW Executive director Melanie Sloan wrote in the complaint, "Whether or not Sen. Vitter is ultimately adjudicated to have broken any criminal laws, the Senate may still discipline him for improper conduct as it has done for others in the past." Senate ethics committee rules allow outside groups to file ethics complaints against members.[7]

New Orleans prostitute claims relations with Vitter; passes lie detector test

Vitter denied extramarital relations with New Orleans prostitute Wendy Cortez, but Cortez insisted that they did indeed have relations and passed a lie detector test. Cortez's claims were promoted by Hustler magazine publisher Larry Flynt, who said more revelations would be forthcoming soon. [8]

Ethics committee dismisses complaint

On May 8, 2008, the Senate Ethics Committee dismissed a complaint filed against Vitter for his alleged involvement in the D.C. prostitution ring.[9] The complaint, filed by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, argued that Vitter should be admonished for improper conduct.[7] In a letter issued by the committee, its members wrote that Vitter had not been criminally charged nor had his conduct involved his public office. The committee therefore rejected the complaint without prejudice. [9]



He was born May 3, 1961 in New Orleans, was educated at Harvard University, Oxford University (and was a Rhodes Scholar), and Tulane University, and was a lawyer and member of the Louisiana House of Representatives before entering the House.

Congressional Career

As of January 2005, he occupies the Senate seat vacated by outgoing Senator John Breaux. While he is widely believed to be the first Republican Senator elected in Louisiana, that title goes to John S. Harris who took his office as a senator in 1868. However, Vitter is the first to be elected by the general populace of Louisiana, while Harris was chosen by the state legislature before the Seventeenth Amendment to the United States Constitution made that procedure obsolete.

Money in politics

This section contains links to – and feeds from – money in politics databases. For specific controversies, see this article's record and controversies section.

Top Contributors to during the 2008 Election Cycle
DonorAmount (US Dollars)
Adams & Reese$ 37,850
Edison Chouest Offshore$ 37,700
Jones, Walker et al$ 35,300
Mockler Beverage$ 34,400
Chevron Corp$ 29,800
Offshore Warriors Inc$ 22,400
Murray Energy$ 20,573
Entergy Corp$ 20,500
D&J Construction$ 20,450
Independent Community Bankers of America$ 19,000
Source: The Center for Responsive Politics' www.OpenSecrets.org site.
Note: Contributions are not from the organizations themselves, but are rather from
the organization's PAC, employees or owners. Totals include subsidiaries and affiliates.
Links to more campaign contribution information for David Vitter
from the Center for Responsive Politics' OpenSecrets.org site.
Fundraising profile: 2008 election cycle Career totals
Top contributors by organization/corporation: 2008 election cycle Career totals
Top contributors by industry: 2008 election cycle Career totals

Committees and Affiliations


Committees in the 110th Congress (2007-2008)

Committee assignments in the 109th Congress (2005-2006)

Caucuses and Coalitions

  • Congressional Immigration Reform Caucus
  • I-49 Congressional Caucus
  • Republican Policy Committee

Boards and other Affiliations

  • Member, Coastal Conservation Association
  • Member, Ducks Unlimited
  • Former Member, Louisiana Bar Association
  • Member, National Rifle Association

More Background Data

Wikipedia also has an article on David Vitter. This article may use content from the Wikipedia article under the terms of the GFDL.


DC office
  • 516 Hart Senate Office Building Washington, DC 20510
    Ph: 202-224-4623 Fax: 202-228-5061
    Webform email
District offices
  • 2230 South MacArthur Drive Suite 4 Alexandria, LA 71301
    Ph: 318-448-0169 Fax: (none entered)
  • 858 Convention Street Baton Rouge, LA 70801
    Ph: 225-383-0331 Fax: (none entered)
  • 800 Lafayette Street Suite 1200 Baton Rouge, LA 70808
    Ph: 337-262-6898 Fax: (none entered)
  • 3221 Ryan Street Suite E Lake Charles, LA 70601
    Ph: 337-436-0453 Fax: (none entered)
  • 2800 Veterans Boulevard Suite 201 Metairie, LA 70002
    Ph: 504-589-2753 Fax: (none entered)
  • 1217 North 19th Street Monroe, LA 71201
    Ph: 318-325-8120 Fax: (none entered)
  • 920 Pierremont Road Suite 113 Shreveport, LA 71106
    Ph: 318-861-0437 Fax: (none entered)
On the Web
Campaign office
  • No campaign website entered.
  • No campaign webform email entered.
  • No campaign office information entered.

Articles and resources


Local blogs and discussion sites


  1. Roll call vote, Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002.
  2. Bill Walsh, [http://web.archive.org/web/20050907221410/http://www.nola.com/news/t-p/washington/index.ssf?/base/news-1/112253289179960.xml "McCain defends Vitter as tribe cries foul," New Orleans Times Picayune, July 28, 2005. Internet Archive capture from Sept. 7, 2005.
  3. Shailagh Murray, "Senator's Number on 'Madam' Phone List," Washington Post, July 10, 2007.
  4. Kate Moran, "Former madam says Vitter was a client at Canal Street brothel," New Orleans Times Picayune, July 10, 2007.
  5. John Hill, "Republicans are pondering their next move over Vitter scandal," Shreverport Times, July 12, 2007.
  6. " Scandal-linked senator breaks a week of silence," CNN, July 17, 2007.
  7. 7.0 7.1 Elana Schor, "Watchdog group asks Senate ethics panel to start Vitter inquiry," The Hill. July 19, 2007.
  8. Elana Schor. "Flynt throws fresh jab at Vitter," The Hill. September 12, 2007.
  9. 9.0 9.1 Manu Raju, "Ethics panel dismisses Vitter complaint," The Hill. May 8, 2007.


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