The Five Senators Who Refuse To Say If They Anonymously Killed The Whistleblower Bill

from the who-will-blow-the-whistle dept

While the bill had some significant shortcomings, we were still somewhat surprised to find out that a US Senator used an anonymous hold to block a bill designed to protect whistleblowers. At the time, we wondered if there would be a whistleblower who would reveal who blocked the bill. However, the folks at WNYC's On the Media set up a neat campaign to contact all 100 Senators and get them to say whether or not they put the hold on the bill. For weeks, many Senators refused to respond, but now the project has reached the point where 95 Senators have said they did not put the block on the bill, leaving just five Senators who have refused to answer. They are:
  • David Vitter
  • Jeff Sessions
  • James Risch
  • Mitch McConnell
  • Jon Kyl
On the Media is still asking for help contacting those five senators to see if they'll finally explain whether or not they put a hold on the bill. The whole process of an "anonymous hold" in the Senate seems to go against basic principles of transparency in democracy. Anonymity is an important part of free speech for the citizenry, but it does not apply to a single Senator blocking legislation. If they are going to do that in the name of the people they represent, they should be expected to step forward and admit it.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 18th, 2011 @ 6:29pm

    and how do you know the other 95 are telling the truth? It's not like dishonest politicians are uncommon.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Feb 18th, 2011 @ 6:40pm

      Re:

      If the truth is something that will woo the voters, it will be stated immediately with maximum pomp and circumstance.

      If it's a negative truth, then expect to be stonewalled with as many half-truths and noncommittal answers as possible.

      You won't find many outright lies in politics...never good to go on record with that kind of dirty business.

       

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      Marcel de Jong (profile), Feb 18th, 2011 @ 6:46pm

      Re:

      This is why On The Media still wants help contacting these senators.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 18th, 2011 @ 6:46pm

    yes not mine this time, unlike the internet kill switch,
    dont have to write a long lengthly letter to be ignored and get a response from a intern

     

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    6 (profile), Feb 18th, 2011 @ 7:45pm

    "ēJeff Sessions"

    "ēMitch McConnell"

    Same ol' sht, different day.

     

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    Christopher (profile), Feb 18th, 2011 @ 9:33pm

    This is another piece of 'democracy' that is not a part of democracy and more a part of repressive regimes. Secret holds should not be allowed in our government, these people should have to be HONEST about the fact that they killed something while it was in committee and take the lumps if their constituents don't like that they did that.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 18th, 2011 @ 11:33pm

    {The whole process of an "anonymous hold" in the Senate seems to go against basic principles of transparency in democracy.}

    I don't recall The Democrats in the Senate saying that they would be transparent.

    {Anonymity is an important part of free speech for the citizenry, but it does not apply to a single Senator blocking legislation.}

    Who says? The Congress is allowed to make it's own rules under the power of the United States Constitution.
    I bet there is a rule that allows this.


    {If they are going to do that in the name of the people they represent, they should be expected to step forward and admit it.}

    In a non representative republic, or pure democracy that might be the case. This is one of the problems that have come from the United States early Progressive era when the 17th amendment was ratified taking away the states right to select it's senators. Turning the senate into a popularity contest and causing the loss of citizen rights.
    Look what happened to the health care bill in the senate where it was returned to the house and Constitutionally "Slaughtered" in the house with deem and pass.

     

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      The eejit (profile), Feb 19th, 2011 @ 12:38am

      Re:

      Barack Obama in his very first speech as President.

       

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      John Duncan Yoyo, Feb 19th, 2011 @ 6:14am

      Re:

      I don't really understand the hubbub about Deem and Pass. It just combines two votes into one. If you voted for Deem and Pass you voted for the thing. Granted they may have held their noses to do so but they approved the passage of the legislation. End of story.

      The Republicans did Deem and Pass and similar self executing rules more often than the Democrats when they were in charge so they lack legs to stand on here. Just belly aching.

      The Republicans are poor losers and often worse winners.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Feb 20th, 2011 @ 5:55pm

      Re:

      {Anonymity is an important part of free speech for the citizenry, but it does not apply to a single Senator blocking legislation.}

      > Who says? The Congress is allowed to make it's own rules under the power of the United States Constitution. I bet there is a rule that allows this.

      Whether you CAN do something is one thing, Whether you SHOULD do something is quite another.

      In fact your representative should be allowed to hide themselves when putting up / blocking bills unless the people they're representing are also hidden - or should I say, not exist?

       

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    Designerfx (profile), Feb 18th, 2011 @ 11:35pm

    notice something?

    All 5 are republicans who are fundamentalists, heavy right wing, super conservative, whore themselves out to corporate capture, and have huge ethical breaches on many levels conflicting with their conservative views.

    ex: Vitter hired the DC madam and apologized for the "Sin".

    Is it any surprise these people have something to hide? Wouldn't surprise me if they're linked to the smear campaign.

     

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      harbingerofdoom (profile), Feb 19th, 2011 @ 7:07am

      Re: notice something?

      and its worse simply because they are REPUBLICAN and willingly whore themselves out to corporate interest?

      as opposed to what... being DEMOCRAT and willingly whoring yourself out to corporate insterest which is so immeasurably better?

      the problem isnt dem vs rep.... the actual problem is elected officials whoring themselves out. political affiliations have no bearing on them being a whore...

       

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        Christopher (profile), Feb 19th, 2011 @ 1:49pm

        Re: Re: notice something?

        Personally, I don't care if someone patronized prostitutes. It's when they say that they are the bastion of 'family values' that I start having a problem with their obvious forked tongue.

         

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        abc gum, Feb 19th, 2011 @ 2:02pm

        Re: Re: notice something?

        The members of congress should be made to wear the logos of their corporate overlords much like you see in NASCAR. Not only would this be humorous, but it might make them think twice about accepting money from some sponsors.

        Another suggestion that will never happen is that congress should be made to obtain their health care in the same manner as everyone else. I do not understand why congress gets to exempt themselves from the laws they foist upon their constituents. If they had to eat their own cooking then maybe the cuisine would improve.

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Feb 19th, 2011 @ 4:59pm

          Re: Re: Re: notice something?

          Well they will not do it themselves but there is no law that I'm aware of that is stopping us from putting the logos right there besides their BS and maybe they get inspired to send in the "right" information if we get it wrong LoL

           

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        TJGeezer (profile), Feb 20th, 2011 @ 3:57pm

        Re: Re: notice something?

        "and its worse simply because they are REPUBLICAN and willingly whore themselves out to corporate interest?"

        Gee, I reread the comment and nothing like that was said. Just that all five were cross-waving, flag-wrapped hypocrites. And Republicans. Don't jump on people for noticing that cross-waving, flag-wrapped politicians tend to be Republicans. Democratic politicians wrap themselves in different symbols and seem, on average, to keep themselves less masked. They don't go out whoring at night and then thunder during the day about Christian morals.

        Of course any politician of any party who talks about integrity, then takes corporate "free speech" money before pushing some corporate lobbyist's legislative agenda deserves to be snorted at. Just as hypocritical politicians deserve to have their noses rubbed in the fact.

        Be as defensive as you need to be, but please try to speak to the point, not to some never-was-there interpretation of somebody's comment.

         

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          Chris Rhodes (profile), Feb 21st, 2011 @ 8:41am

          Re: Re: Re: notice something?

          then takes corporate "free speech" money

          Here's an important point that I try to re-iterate whenever possible, because the internet is awash with misinformation on the subject:

          The Citizen's United did not allow corporations to donate any more money to candidates than they were already allowed to. It just prohibited the government from banning actual political speech merely because it came from a group of incorporated individuals. There's a big difference.

           

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            abc gum, Feb 21st, 2011 @ 9:16am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: notice something?

            "The Citizen's United did not allow corporations to donate any more money to candidates than they were already allowed to"

            That may be, but isn't it true that the Citizen's United case opened the flood gates for anonymous spending by political action committees upon attack ads which are not directly sponsored or approved by the candidate?

            Political spending was at record levels during this past midterm election, a large portion of the money spent did not have to disclose from where it came. Do you see this as a good thing?

            Many large corporations have interests in foreign countries and their governments. Doesn't US election laws forbid foreign money from being spent upon US political campaigns? Just because a corp has their headquarters in Bethesda does not mean they have the best interests of the country in mind.

            It's a shame to see all that money wasted on stupid tv spots and junk mail. It could've been spent on something that would really matter.

             

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              Chris Rhodes (profile), Feb 21st, 2011 @ 9:23am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: notice something?

              That may be, but isn't it true that the Citizen's United case opened the flood gates for anonymous spending by political action committees upon attack ads which are not directly sponsored or approved by the candidate? Political spending was at record levels

              How much of this political spending would have been illegal before the Citizen's United decision? Most of the furor I've seen are over things that were perfectly acceptable before the decision.

              Many large corporations have interests in foreign countries and their governments.

              "We must suppress free speech or the foreigners will take control of our government!"

               

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                abc gum, Feb 23rd, 2011 @ 4:41am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: notice something?

                I think you missed the point(s) entirely.

                CR -> "How much of this political spending would have been illegal before the Citizen's United decision?"

                That is a very good question and I have not seen an analysis, have you? But from what I recall, anonymous contributions were limited to a certain quantity and amounts above that had to be declared - etc.

                CR -> "We must suppress free speech or the foreigners will take control of our government!"

                Typical response - fall back on the good ol' battle cry whilst ignoring the consequences of your actions.

                 

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              Chris Rhodes (profile), Feb 21st, 2011 @ 9:24am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: notice something?

              (Closing tag fail!)

              That may be, but isn't it true that the Citizen's United case opened the flood gates for anonymous spending by political action committees upon attack ads which are not directly sponsored or approved by the candidate?

              If you mean "speech", then yes. It did allow for more of it. Why is this a bad thing, again? Because you don't like speech of a particular sort?

              Political spending was at record levels

              How much of this political spending would have been illegal before the Citizen's United decision? Most of the furor I've seen are over things that were perfectly acceptable before the decision.

              Many large corporations have interests in foreign countries and their governments.

              "We must suppress free speech or the foreigners will take control of our government!"

               

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    Mark, Feb 19th, 2011 @ 3:16am

    And the power may be gone

    thanks to senator Wyden (really, can we get more like him), it seems that this ability may be gone, and all due to this bill.

    http://www.onthemedia.org/transcripts/2011/02/04/06

     

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    Douglas Smith (profile), Feb 19th, 2011 @ 3:29am

    Come on American Citizens letís fix our Government!

    Come on American Citizens letís fix our Government!
    Congressional Reform Act of 2011

    Think about This:
    The 26th amendment (granting the right to vote for 18 year-olds) took only 3 months & 8

    days to be ratified! Why? Simple! The people demanded it. That was in 1971...before

    computers, before e-mail, before cell phones, etc.

    Of the 27 amendments to the Constitution, seven (7) took 1 year or less to become the law of the land...all because of public pressure.

    I'm asking each addressee to forward this email to a minimum of twenty people on their

    address list; in turn ask each of those to do likewise.

    In three days, most people in The United States of America will have the message. This is one idea that really should be passed around.

    Congressional Reform Act of 2011

    1. Term Limits.

    12 years only, one of the possible options below..

    A. Two Six-year Senate terms
    B. Six Two-year House terms
    C. One Six-year Senate term and three Two-Year House terms

    2. No Tenure / No Pension.

    A Congressman collects a salary while in office and receives no pay when they are out of office.

    3. Congress (past, present & future) participates in Social Security.

    All funds in the Congressional retirement fund move to the Social Security system immediately. All future funds flow into the Social Security system, and Congress participates with the American people.

    4. Congress can purchase their own retirement plan, just as all Americans do.

    5. Congress will no longer vote themselves a pay raise. Congressional pay will rise by the lower of CPI or 3%.

    6. Congress loses their current health care system and participates in the same health care system as the American people. 7. Congress must equally abide by all laws they impose on the American people.

    8. All contracts with past and present Congressmen are void effective 1/1/11.

    The American people did not make this contract with Congressmen. Congressmen made all these contracts for themselves.

    Serving in Congress is an honor, not a career. The Founding Fathers envisioned citizen legislators, so ours should serve their term(s), then go home and back to work.

    If each person contacts a minimum of twenty people then it will only take three

    days for most people (in the U.S. ) to receive the message. Maybe it is time.

     

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      Christopher (profile), Feb 19th, 2011 @ 1:50pm

      Re: Come on American Citizens letís fix our Government!

      The term limits thing would not work correctly. The corporations would STILL have their 'go to' men in office. What we need is a nationalized funding for campaigns, with only PRIVATE CITIZENS allowed to give money and, at most, 5000 dollars in any form whatsoever.

       

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        Jose_X, Feb 21st, 2011 @ 5:36am

        Re: Re: Come on American Citizens letís fix our Government!

        1 -- Campaign finance reform is very needed, but the first order of business is to amend the constitution to make it clear that corporations have no Constitutional rights (unless explicitly and clearly stated in the future).

        2 -- How about a significant tax credit that can only be used for supporting legitimate political campaigns and which would be capped and form part of a per person limit on such spending (eg, like the eg 5,000 you mentioned)? [There might be a small related tax hike to make up some of the difference.]

        This will drive a lot of money into elections from a wide distribution of people, and the conditioned tax credit would amount to a tax penalty to those not engaging in the political process.

        Money is a necessity, but we should try to factor money out as much as possible in the process so that heads rather than dollars are represented.

        3 -- (a) Another reform could be to adjust elections to have more than one cycle. This would increase the chances of 3rd party candidates being chosen. (b) Also allow for a point system where you would penalize those you really dislike greater than those whom you don't mind.

        4 -- We might even want to experiment nearer to direct democracy by allowing us to hand our votes to representatives on a per vote basis. This would mean that every congressperson would have to more or less earn each and every vote. We might assign our votes to completely different people based on either their voting history on similar matter or based on commitments they make to vote a certain way on a particular bill. [We might want to limit what can go into each such bill.]

        A big problem we have is that we pick one person only for several years but there are many many issues to be voted upon. This means the reps need only please us with just enough while having much leeway to go against the popular will many times.

         

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          Jose_X, Feb 21st, 2011 @ 5:46am

          Re: Re: Re: Come on American Citizens letís fix our Government!

          Do we really need anything more than the Constitutional clarification of #1 and #4 (plus the required Constitutional changes so that the vote assigning can be done for federal legislation)?

          The Internet should allow us in time to manage the nation in a radically different way that was not imaginable a few centuries back.

           

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        KAL, Feb 21st, 2011 @ 7:23am

        Re: Re: Come on American Citizens letís fix our Government!

        I'd rather see a "No Confidence" system rather than term limits or the current election system.

        At any point if a certain minimum percentage (60-75%) of congresspersons constituants register their dissatisfaction with the incumbant then an election for that office will be held next year, and the incumbant is not eligible to run for re-election.

         

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      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Feb 20th, 2011 @ 6:17am

      Re: Come on American Citizens letís fix our Government!

      It sounds wonderful, but you sort of end up shooting yourself in the foot on some of these.

      First off, if you are changing people every couple of years, what you are doing is making it easier for companies to buy people out. It often takes years to discover wrong doing, but it only takes moments for these guys to vote a law in that helps their friends.

      We also see what term limits do to Presidents, making the last 2 years of their term into a lame duck, pardon-a-thon as they use their last remaining shreds of power to pay off the people who got them to the top of the pile.

      Term limits would replace career politicians with the drive by shooters of politics.

      Pay and benefits wise, elected officials need to receive compensation that makes the job attractive, not repulsive. Low pay is not the way to attract good people. Your CPI or 3% (which ever is less) is a wonderful way to make that pay less and less relevant all the time. In the low inflation years, they get CPI, in the high inflation years, they get less than the cost of inflation. Over a people or 20 years, they are likely to fall far behind the overall CPI, making the pay even less attractive for the next generation.

      Your intentions are good, but the net results would be a corporate feeding frenzy and a series of hack politicians only in it for short term personal gain.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Feb 20th, 2011 @ 11:05am

        Re: Re: Come on American Citizens letís fix our Government!

        [Your intentions are good, but the net results would be a corporate feeding frenzy and a series of hack politicians only in it for short term personal gain.]

        And this is any different than what we have now? Seriously, take the money out of elected positions (at ALL levels) and you would see changes. Remember that the Founding Fathers originally intended for there to be no career politicians at all. It was meant to be a duty of a citizen to serve, just like jury duty. So where did we go wrong?

         

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          Christopher (profile), Feb 20th, 2011 @ 7:43pm

          Re: Re: Re: Come on American Citizens letís fix our Government!

          We didn't go wrong. The problem was that the Founding Fathers forgot that the average man, unlike the monied man, does not have the time nor energy to spend on 'service'.

           

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      Anonymous Coward, Feb 20th, 2011 @ 5:59pm

      Re: Come on American Citizens letís fix our Government!

      > 2. No Tenure / No Pension.

      > A Congressman collects a salary while in office and receives no pay when they are out of office.

      Sorry but I have to object this.

      These were money to compensite oppotunity cost of corruption. If these were removed, the oppotunity cost for "not corrupting" will increase, and trust me, it'll likely to do more harm than good.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Feb 20th, 2011 @ 10:36pm

      Re: Come on American Citizens letís fix our Government!

      Some good ideas though I am against term limits for the fact that, at that level, the best term limit is to elect them out of office. No sense in getting rid of a good person who the people like. I most would like to see an absolute ban on them becoming lobbyists after the fact, and a ban on contributions. Until the money comes out of the game, it will always be the corporations that win it.

       

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      Jose_X, Feb 21st, 2011 @ 5:17am

      Re: Come on American Citizens letís fix our Government!

      >> The 26th amendment (granting the right to vote for 18 year-olds) took only 3 months & 8

      primed by the war

      We might be getting close to seeking out some real change again. A better candidate than Congressional reform might be "the Constitution applies only to human beings unless noted otherwise" as a reaction to Citizens United.

      >> before computers, before e-mail, before cell phones

      I do have to pause for a moment and wonder if perhaps we aren't too distracted to focus on a narrow selection of topics. [Nah.]

      >> Congressional Reform Act of 2011

      As you can see by the other replies, the long list you covered is too complex for any significant number of people to agree to it for an amendment or at least quickly in the near future.

       

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        Chris Rhodes (profile), Feb 21st, 2011 @ 8:47am

        Re: Re: Come on American Citizens letís fix our Government!

        There was nothing wrong with the Citizens United decision. A group of people got together to pool their resources and make a documentary critical of Hillary Clinton. The government stepped in and said, "No, you can't say bad things about Hillary this close to an election." The court slapped them down and said that just because it was a group of people and not an individual, that didn't mean they lose their right to free speech.

        And somehow, that court ruling heralds the end of democracy? We need an amendment to make sure that the government can ban political speech it doesn't like? Yeah, that'll make our situation better . . .

         

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          abc gum, Feb 23rd, 2011 @ 4:46am

          Re: Re: Re: Come on American Citizens letís fix our Government!

          Corporations are people now and you had better get used to it because they now have way more rights that you ever had - ya little pip squeak. Now get back to work peon.

           

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 19th, 2011 @ 7:28am

    wiki-leaks

     

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    NullOp, Feb 19th, 2011 @ 7:42am

    Once again...

    This is another example of why every sitting politician in congress needs to be rounded up, marched into the street and told to "GO HOME! You're done!"

     

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  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 19th, 2011 @ 1:57pm

    The irony is staggering....and lost on these 5 senators!

     

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    PrometheeFeu (profile), Feb 19th, 2011 @ 2:54pm

    Let's just try to make sure these 5 people don't get elected. In fact, the best thing would be to not elect anyone to any post in governement and just have a single guy flipping coins on every decision. At least he might get it right sometimes.

     

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    identicon
    TDR, Feb 21st, 2011 @ 9:46am

    I'm tired of people bashing the faith just because some people hide behind it rather than try to live by it. Judge the followers by the faith, not the faith by the followers.

    Anyway, central government needs to be severely scaled back and states' rights restored. Corporations need to be stripped of the rights of personhood and be barred from making any political contributions of any kind. Only human beings should be able to contribute, and only a limited amount. And a review process for all laws should be put in place, to periodically assess whether they actually doing what they were intended to do and whether they're still relevant or not and should be repealed.

     

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    DanVan (profile), Feb 21st, 2011 @ 7:23pm

    Wouldn't be surprised if Vitter was the idiot.

    He got caught with hookers awhile back after praising himself as the perfect Catholic during election time

    Same ole for the GOP

    Hypocrites and general morons

     

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  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 22nd, 2011 @ 5:19pm

    I would expect this of David Vitter. After all he used our tax money to purchase his whores, which eventually led to the suicide of one woman.

    Wanna know what the worst part of all this is? He still won reelection.

    Normal person get caught with prostitute = jail

    David Vitter gets caught with prostitute = reelection

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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