Vitter, sitting on $1.2 million, raising $$ from Livingston
Despite getting hounded by the media all week long, Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) has at least 1.2 million reasons to feel politically secure: that's how many dollars he has sitting in his campaign war chest.
Vitter's first day back in the Capitol Tuesday also coincided with the day his re-election committee's report became public in the Senate's Office of Public Records, showing that the lawmaker raised $122,540 in the 2nd quarter of 2007 -- including a large chunk of donations from prominent Washington lobbyists in the last days of June. That was less than two weeks before the senator admitted publicly that he had committed a "very serious sin" involving an escort service in Washington, prompting him to go into political hiding for most of last week.
As of June 30, Vitter had $1,152,480 in his "David Vitter for U.S. Senate" account, which is a huge amount of cash for a lawmaker who's three-and-a-half years away from his re-election battle.
Among those who gave to Vitter on the eve of his embarrassing admission was -- someone cue up the most ironic music you can -- Bob Livingston, the former congressman whose own extra-marital affair drove him from Congress as he was just about to become House speaker. Livingston (R-La.), like Vitter now, was forced to admit his affair after Hustler publisher Larry Flynt conducted an investigation into potential affairs of Republicans supporting Bill Clinton's impeachment in 1998.
Livingston, who now is a multi-millionaire lobbyist, gave $500 to Vitter's re-election campaign June 30, the last day of the reporting period, according to the latest finance report. It's worth noting that, after Livingston left Congress in early 1999, Vitter won his seat in the House after a bitter Republican primary in which Livingston backed one of the now-senator's rivals. Vitter won his Senate seat in 2004 and faces re-election in 2010.
After the revelations about Vitter last week, Livingston publicly offered his support for the senator, urging him to "charge forward" in office and not resign in disgrace.
Other notable items in Vitter's campaign report:
â€¢ On June 30, just as he was helping kill the immigration reform legislation, Vitter took $1,000 from Taco PAC - the political action committee of the Taco Bell franchise.
â€¢ On June 25, Charles Black - a veteran lobbyist who is enormously influential among the Bush family and is now a senior adviser to Sen. John McCain's presidential campaign - gave $500.
â€¢ Vitter for Senate likes to purchase its event supplies from Party City. That's the discount party superstore that specializes in theme parties such as its "Hula Girl Party." The committee spent $114 at Party City in the 2nd quarter.
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