Louisiana Dems file ethics complaint against Vitter

The head of the Louisiana Democratic Party filed an ethics complaint against Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) on Friday, accusing Vitter of using his taxpayer-funded town hall meetings as campaign events.

Party chairman Chris Wittington filed a complaint with the Senate Ethics Committee, saying in the sworn statement that shots Vitter had taken at prospective reelection opponent, Rep. Charlie Melancon (D-La.), as well as the controlled environment of the meetings, had constituted a breach of ethics.

"These comments, and in particular Senator Vitter's repeated attacks on his likely campaign opponent, indicate these events were political and not official in nature," Whittington wrote.

Lawmakers are forbidden from using official funds, bankrolled by taxpayers, for campaign purposes.

"Instead of using town hall meetings to foster a free and open discussion on important issues, Senator Vitter has essentially staged taxpayer-funded campaign events to repeatedly launch misleading attacks on his potential opponent and build his campaign's war chest," said Louisiana Democratic Party Spokesman Kevin Franck. "Once again David Vitter has given into the temptation to cross an ethical and legal boundary."

The complaint could establish an interesting precedent for the heated August town hall meetings, giving pause to any lawmaker who made statements about potential political foes in recent meetings.