Feminist Hypocrisy Watch: Sen. Vitter Exposed as Patron of Escort Service and Brothel

Louisiana Senator David Vitter (R) has admitted to patronizing a high-end DC escort service and has been implicated as a patron of a New Orleans high-priced brothel. On Monday evening, Sen. Vitter, who won his Senate seat in 2004 and will be up for reelection in 2010, released a statement acknowledging that he had been in contact with Deborah Jeane Palfrey, who released the phone records of her escort service earlier this year. Following Sen. Vitter’s admission, former New Orleans madam Jeanette Maier, who pled guilty to running a brothel in 2002, revealed that Vitter had also visited her operation as a client, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Sen. Vitter called his use of the escort service “a very serious sin in [his] past” for which he has “received forgiveness from God and [his] wife in confession and marriage counseling,” Bloomberg News reports. Many are pointing out the hypocrisy of Vitter’s extramarital discretions, particularly because he ran for office as a self-described “conservative who opposes radically redefining marriage, the most important social institution in human history,” according to the New York Times. He has been described as having one of the most conservative voting records of any Louisiana politician and of any member of the House.

Palfrey, known as the “DC Madam,” turned over the phone records of what she called her “legal, high-end erotic fantasy service” to ABC News earlier this year when facing charges of running a prostitution ring. Her strategy was to let the news channel “out” past clients who would serve as witnesses, supporting her claims that no prostitution occurred. A gag order was placed on the records, but has since been lifted. Hustler owner Larry Flynt has spearheaded the efforts to comb through the records and expose “moral hypocrites,” the Washington Post reports.

In late April, when the records were first released, Randall Tobias, President Bush’s former director of US Foreign Assistance and administrator of the Agency for International Development (USAID), was also implicated as a patron of Palfrey’s service. An outspoken critic of programs delivering aid to sex workers and a stalwart advocate of abstinence-only sex education programs, Tobias quickly resigned from his post.

Ironically, Sen. Vitter first entered national politics in a special election to replace former Representative Bob Livingston (R-LA). Rep. Livingston, who was one of the strongest critics of former President Bill Clinton’s relationship with intern Monica Lewinsky, resigned after it was made public that he had also been involved in an extramarital affair.


LA Times 7/12/07; New York Times 7/11/07; Bloomberg.com 7/12/07; Washington Post 7/11/07; Media Matters 7/11/07; Feminist Daily News Wire 5/1/07

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