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O‘DONNELL: As Anthony Weiner‘s resignation from the House of Representatives became official today, a new call came for Senator David Vitter to follow Weiner‘s lead and resign. Christian conservative group Family Policy Network sent a letter to the Louisiana senator, saying his resignation was long overdue.
“There are a lot of people that I think are committing out right hypocrisy and are forced to do so as long as he remains in office. I don‘t think the senator should put those folks in the untenable position of having to pragmatically defend his presence in the Senate,” said the group‘s president, Joe Glover.
Family Policy Network is not the only group going after Senator Vitter now. Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, or CREW, filed a complaint today with the Senate Ethics Committee against Vitter over allegations that he attempted to bribe the Interior Department Secretary Ken Salazar. The complaint claims on May 23rd, Senator Vitter sent a letter to Salazar saying he would block any efforts to raise the secretary‘s salary if the secretary did not increase the number of permits for deep-water exploratory permits.
O‘DONNELL: Senator, I want to get an ethics question before you go. I know you have the job that no senator wants, chairman of the ethics committee. But we watched you masterfully handle in a completely bipartisan way the Senator Ensign investigation, which led to his abrupt resignation.
I‘m not going to ask you about the complaint that‘s been filed with your committee today about Senator Vitter because I won‘t waste the time. I know you can‘t comment on a complaint filed with the committee.
But can you explain to viewers, because everybody out there is wondering—how does Anthony Weiner end up being in effect forced to resign, forced to leave the House of Representatives and Senator Vitter is still in the United States Senate and the ethics committee did not even investigate the Senator Vitter‘s possible involvement in prostitution?
BOXER: OK. Well, just taking it away from a particular person, because I don‘t want to talk about a particular individual.
Let me just tell your viewers this. Under the Constitution, no one can force anyone to resign. It is up to that individual to make that decision. That is a fact.
Now, you can expel someone if the ethics committee finds that they have violated their oath of office, if they were corrupt, if they brought shame upon the Senate. But that takes, as you know, an investigation. So, that‘s how it works. The individual makes a decision whether they want to resign. And the Senate and the House Ethics Committee can force someone to resign after a pretty lengthy investigation.
O‘DONNELL: Senator Barbara Boxer, thank you very much for joining us tonight.
BOXER: Thank you so much.