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Sen. David Vitter Lies About Tasking Violent, Abusive Aide With Women's Issues

This post originally appeared on the Washington Monthly. Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) has largely hidden from journalists lately, but answered some questions yesterday, in a media availability that lasted less than two minutes. Of particular interest to reporters was the scandal-plagued Vitter's decision to keep Brent Furer on his taxpayer-financed payroll, despite Furer having held his ex-girlfriend hostage, threatening to kill her, and attacking her with a knife. Vitter was aware of Furer's problems, but, according to an ABC report, he nevertheless kept Furer on as an aide. Literally adding insult to injury, Vitter reportedly tasked Furer with helping oversee women's issues for the senator's office.
Asked about this yesterday, Vitter said Furer "was not" assigned to work on women's issues. When the reporter followed up, asking, "He was not assigned to women's issues?" Vitter replied, "Correct." He added that the issue has been "completely misreported." The senator left no wiggle room in his categorical denial. There's evidence to suggest Vitter was lying. Brian Beutler reported overnight that there are "numerous records and published accounts" that relied on Vitter's office for staff assignments, all of which "name Furer as Vitter's legislative assistant on women's issues." And looking specifically at the dates on the materials, Furer was still listed in that capacity after Vitter learned of his aide's violent attack against his ex-girlfriend. Brian also noted that Beth Meeks, executive director of the Louisiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence, worked with Vitter's office on domestic violence legislation, and was "personally informed that Furer was Vitter's point man on the issue." In one sense, Vitter's judgment looks ridiculous for keeping Furer on the public payroll at all, regardless of which issues the aide was assigned to cover. But for Vitter to ask Furer to oversee women's issues, and then for Vitter to apparently lie about it directly to reporters while on camera takes this story to a new level. If Senate Dems want to play hardball, they'll start whispering -- today -- about whether Vitter's various scandals should force him to resign.
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