Monday, March 24, 2008

The GOP's Louisiana Senator Can Still be Tried Under the Travel Act

Washington D.C. (and its environs)
--You have to hand it to Louisiana's Fourth Estate, they're rising to the challenge in exposing the obvious double-standard in the treatment of former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer and current Louisiana Senator (and escort service client) David Vitter.

Even prominent Republicans in the Southern state have been calling for a serious investigation, if not his immediate resignation, so it appears to be "on" down there.

If you've been following the ongoing legal saga in the case of Deborah Jeane Palfrey (dubbed the "DC Madam" by the national press), you know that the charges are money laundering and racketeering, stemming from the Travel Act. Is it likely that Vitter--who wasn't a Senator at the time of his calls to Pamela Martin & Associates from 1999-2001--crossed state lines to do his "sinning"? That's not even at issue, says Christopher Tidmore of the Bayou Buzz:
Since Palfrey was based in California, prosecutors say, every phone call and payment from clients violated the law.Vitter, by telephoning Palfrey over state lines could also be prosecuted under the Travel Act, according to legal experts that has consulted, putting the Senator in a similar legal position as the resigned former Governor, and potentially silencing critics who have said there were no parallels between the cases. The statute of limitations is 10 years for violating the Travel Act, leaving Vitter open to prosecution even today. ("Can Louisiana Sen Vitter Be Prosecuted Under the Travel Act?", 03.24.2008)
The logic of this makes sense, but I'm no legal expert. However, if Palfrey is being charged along-the-lines of using telecommunications across state lines, so too should Vitter. To do otherwise is selective prosecution, a strong possibility in Palfrey's case. What's certain is that there are more parallels between the Spitzer and Vitter stories than previously assumed. Partisan politics has a way of doing these things. Did he, or didn't he?

Nobody reads it, but you know what the Bible says: you sin even when you think about committing a sin, it's as though it really happened. If only we could have applied this to Senator Vitter months ago when Louisiana had a Democratic Governor. The lesson to be learned is that if you're in-trouble with the law, but have powerful friends, it's best to wait-things-out until your enemies are safely out of office. It goes without saying that Vitter is far from being a force of genuine change, but considering his possible fetish for diapers, he could be a force to be changed...