Friday, September 13, 2013
(Washington, D.C.) – U.S. Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) today sent a letter to the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Ethics requesting an investigation of Senators Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and their respective staffs for violating the Committee’s rules by proposing and circulating through the press legislation that ties Members’ personal healthcare benefits to their performance of specific acts and votes.
Vitter is fighting to end the Obamacare exemption for Congress and Washington. The exemption could take effect on October 1, 2013 without a legislative fix. Vitter's amendment would reverse and clarify the decision by the Office of Personnel and Management (OPM) on Obamacare. The legislation requires that all Members of Congress, the President, Vice President, and all political appointees in the Administration must purchase their health insurance on the Obamacare Exchange without the help of taxpayer-funded subsidies. Congressional staff would be prohibited from receiving any contribution greater than what they would receive if they were not employed by a congressional office. Cosponsors include Senators Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.), Dean Heller (R-Nev.), Mike Lee (R-Utah), Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) and Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.).
The text of the letter is below.
September 13, 2013
The Honorable Barbara Boxer, Chair
The Honorable Johnny Isakson, Vice Chair
Senate Select Committee on Ethics
Hart Building, Room 220
Washington, DC 20510
Re: Request for Investigation of Senator Harry Reid, Senator Barbara Boxer, and their respective staffs
Dear Chairwoman Boxer and Vice Chairman Isakson:
I respectfully request that the Senate Select Committee on Ethics investigate whether Senator Harry Reid, Senator Barbara Boxer, and their respective staffs violated the Committee’s Rules by proposing and circulating through the press legislation that ties Members’ personal healthcare benefits to their performance of specific acts and votes. This is attempted bribery, and the exact sort of behavior that the Senate Ethics Committee has previously condemned.
News reports indicate that Senator Reid, Senator Boxer, and their staffs took the above concrete actions, thereby threatening their colleagues in the Senate with increased personal healthcare costs if they do not vote a certain way on a particular amendment proposed by me concerning the 2010 Affordable Care Act. As more fully explained below, Senator Reid's and Senator Boxer’s offering of such a quid pro quo arrangement to their Senate colleagues is a violation of this Committee’s Rules and flies in the face of its enforcement policies articulated in previous ethics matters.
Questions for Senators Reid and Boxer, and Their Staffs
If Senators Reid and Boxer, and their staffs, assert that they have not been involved in this Democratic intimidation and payoff scheme, then they should be forced by your Committee to answer the following questions under threat of perjury:
1) When did you become aware of the Democratic-lead plan to tie Senators’ personal healthcare benefits to their official actions? Have you, as Senate Majority Leader and Chair of the Senate Select Committee on Ethics, taken any actions to prevent this bribery scheme from being implemented?
2) The news organization Politico has reported that this scheme was “drafted by staff in response to requests by several Democratic senators…it was discussed at a Senate Democratic lunch on Thursday.” Who are the Democratic staff members that drafted this legislation?
3) Who specifically are the “several Democratic senators” who requested that this legislation be drafted?
4) Did Senators Reid and Boxer attend the referenced Senate Democratic lunch where this legislation was discussed? If yes, were either or both of them a part of such discussion?
5) Was ethics guidance requested from this Committee by the involved staffers and/or the several Democratic Senators who proposed this bribery scheme? If so, what guidance was provided?
Request for Chair Boxer’s Recusal
The Chair of the Ethics Committee is in a position of unique importance, and her integrity and credibility must be beyond reproach. Until sworn answers are provided to the above outlined questions that prove she was not in any way involved in the development of the outlined intimidation tactics, I respectfully request that Chair Boxer recuse herself from this matter. It is absurd on its face to think that the Committee can fairly and impartially address the potential ethics violations outlined herein when the Committee’s Chair and her staff appear to have orchestrated them in the first place, or at best were aware of them and did nothing to stop the violations, therefore becoming co-conspirators.
This situation is especially egregious because news reports indicate that the Democratic scheme includes use of the Senate Ethics Committee process to intimidate senators and influence their official actions and votes.
Upon proof or Senator Boxer’s complicity in this scheme, the minimum consequence for such behavior should be her removal from the Committee.
Facts and Precedent
In response to my proposal and call for a vote on my amendment to reverse the Office of Personnel Management’s Congressional exemption from the Affordable Care Act, Senator Reid and Boxer have apparently lead an effort to employ political scare tactics, personal attacks, and threats that would affect each Senator’s personal finances (i.e. bribery). News reports indicate that one of these proposals would prohibit the employer contribution to any “Member of Congress who has offered an amendment in the House of Representatives or the Senate that would prohibit such contributions on behalf of other individuals, or who has voted for the adoption of such an amendment.” Such an arrangement, whereby the Senate Majority Leader and the Chair of this Committee are threatening to take away their colleagues’ healthcare coverage subsidy if they do not vote a certain way, at worst constitutes bribery and a quid pro quo arrangement, and at best amounts to improper conduct reflecting discreditably on the Senate.
Even if the proposed amendment is not actually introduced, the fact that such legislation has not only been drafted, but also released to the press, has already induced the intended intimidating effect. Politico described the scheme as “a hardball move” by the perpetrators, and the ethics violation has now occurred.
The Senate Ethics Manual makes clear that personal financial penalties may not be used to induce Senators to take an official act. In addition, this Committee has been clear that Senators may not hold government officials captive by tying their personal finances or benefits to their official acts. As recently as 2012, this Committee explained:
As stated in the Code of Ethics for Government Service, “public office is a public trust.” A government employee must not be influenced by extraneous factors when making decisions and “never accept for himself or his family, favors or benefits under circumstances which might be construed by reasonable persons as influencing the performance of governmental duties.”
In this case, Senator Reid's and Senator Boxer’s tying Senators’ personal healthcare benefits to their official actions undermines these principles. If a senator voted for Senator Reid's and Senator Boxer’s favored amendment, and against my amendment, it would appear that his or her decision was based on personal interests, and not the public interest.
In addition, the federal bribery statute makes it a crime to “directly or indirectly, corruptly give, offer or promise anything of value to any public official … with intent … to influence any official act.” The phrase ‘anything of value’ in bribery and related statutes has consistently been given a broad meaning, to carry out the congressional purpose of punishing misuse of public office.” Just as Courts have recognized that the promise of higher-paying employment is a “thing of value” for purposes of the statute, the employer contribution that is being threatened to be withheld from Members who do not vote the way that Senators Reid and Boxer prefer is clearly also a “thing of value,” and therefore subjects the members and staff involved in this scheme to potential bribery prosecution.
I request that the Committee immediately investigate Senator Reid's and Senator Boxer’s attempt to induce official action by their Senate colleagues by threatening to take away their healthcare benefits if they do not vote for their proposal and against my amendment.
United States Senate
Repeat , GOD Bless VITTER , Vitter is the man , todays greatest hero Sen. David Vitter .
Right on! Perhaps "nothing" will happen, on the other hand - - -stay on this, people!
YOU go Sen.Vitter, good job and don't forget the cosponsors.Sen's Enzi,Heller, Lee,johson and Inhofe. thanks one and all.
Reid is a communist sympathizer, and Boxer is nothing more than a dumb bitch. Both should be ousted immediately from our Congress. BTW, Boxer has been in Congress for 31 years, and Reid has been in Congress for 31 years. I doubt that our founding fathers encouraged lifetime politicians. Both should be tried for treason, then HUNG.
Reid and Boxer, along with a host of others, have benefitted because the 17th Amendment was added to our Constitution! The 17th Amendment should be repealed.
That's right Faye, that is the spirit !! And Amen is just the answer ,we are people of faith but read about Gabriel and Michael the arch angles of our Lord . There is time to be Christian and there is time to fight and when the Lord sent his angles to deal with the evil behavior he had warned about and given time to repair there was nothing left living;not man ,nor beast ,nor plant . Fighting is left to the last resort ,but there is no reason that the men and women of this country should hand over the chains of slavery whining and willing to the evil that leads us now. This week I saw a new hope and a quiet change in the country not just my local area ,but the whole country. A seed was planted and we must nurture it and make it an oak. The slap in the face of "The Million Muslim march" was answered by the lowest Patriots on the radar ,our nations Bikers. They were denied a permit which with out hesitation they told the govt to stuff in an OBama hole. No Sir !! We ride!! And by God they did!! The people kind of got that ole Chris Mathews tingle up their collective legs . Especially when they saw "Cuts" ( Colors and Gang Affiliation Jackets) they were like : "Oh man this is going to be trouble" but many don't know many of the 1% riders the "Bad Guys" are old military who came home damaged and broken ,they take care of each other and live on the edges of our society , but they are still Patriots . And the freedom of the "Bikers" is were the rest of the pack has their loyalty . Yep the country was different the day after the ride ; to answer the fools of Islam you don't pull that crap in this country. This isn't France or England.. So sr Williams we are no longer intimidated ,that is over time to change your tune and saddle up compadre' , your riding with me buddy !! The lost feeling before was a bluff and it has been called !! Today and from now on you can be a Patriot Rider ,you are no longer powerless . Now your actions after today define your place in this "Pack" you fight with head held high or whine like a liberal your choise. Roy what used to be is back on the plate . Our own attitudes and actions are what will or will not drive the future of this country. Phone , E-Mail , wear your pen out of ink , join your Tea Party ,get your self ready . The Biker run was specific and actionable , the message was clear and written. Here it is --(Paraphrased) This time we ride in peace and we ride to serve notice that we will be back and when it is necessary for us to return and we will take back control of our country. This time is noisy ,next time is messy. I listen and blog on these sites all the time and am disappointed that we don't use the sites to their best use of educating and organizing each other. But today is a great day because we can take the country back and we must put away the whining about what happened and drive the action to what we will do and how we will do it. Pray hard and then read your Bible and pray again,the country goes to the faithful ,God has already pledged it to you. ( If you turn from your wicked ways-google it and then find it in your Bible) he has some requirements. I'm a born again Biker and can tell you the only reason evil is in charge is that we allow it. Today I'm through with that. I thank the Lord for saving my soul and my life and ask him to Bless America and all of you here . Get happy today we start winning it all back!!!
Praise the Lord. Your words are powerful and inspiring. I wish I could tweet them to all Patriots. Stay informed and in touch.
This is just the kind of Chicago Mob Politics that Obama and his Gang have been using all along and it's way past time for this to stop. Everyone involved in this kind of activity should be criminally charged and removed from offices of resposibility as they have shown that they CANNOT be trusted. Impeach Obama and throw the rest of his bums out of Washington.
Call back the Bikers !!! 9/11 is no doubt the day to pay tribute to all those who parished on that tragic day and to show our solidarity that "WE WILL NEVER FORGET" but we need to bring back our patriot bikers, that flooded
DC, showing Capitol Hill who has the real backbone in this country !!! I don't know if anyone saw Michelle Malkin last night on Hannity, where she was frothing at the mouth to Juan Williams, praising the bikers for being
"the real true patriots" !!! I think she looked like most of us feel !!! Bring our beloved Bikers back to DC and fly the banners of all these injustices, Obamacare, IRS, Benghazi, NSA, etc...etc... etc... and let this administration know we're not going to take this crap any more !!! Gosh Darn It .... I'm getting a Harley : )
IT WAS MICHELLE THAT COMMENED THE BIKERS ANS SHE WAS SORIGHT.
WE THE PEOPLE NEED TO BE BRAVE TOOO. AND WRITE TO ALL OUR CONGRESS
MEMBERS TO VOTE TO GET RID OF BOXER, REID AND INCLUDE PELOSI.
AND FOR THEM VITTER AND ALL CONGRESS TO DEMAND OBAMA LEAVES OFFICE NOW.
I applaud you Senator. Go get them. You sir, will be supported.
I'm thankful for courageous men like Vitter.