I think we've all marveled at David Vitter's ability to overcome his little hookers-and-diapers scandal. Apparently, Louisiana voters decided he was just being a good conservative, and weren't about to hold that against him (Vitter has a 16-point lead over his Democratic challenger in RealClearPolitics' polling average
We'll see if his prospects remain as bright after this report by ABC News
A trusted aide to Louisiana Sen. David Vitter resigned Wednesday morning after ABC News reported that he had been arrested for attacking his ex-girlfriend with a knife, and had an open warrant for his arrest in Baton Rouge on a drunk driving charge.
The aide, Brent Furer, worked on the Republican senator's last campaign, and has spent the last five years posted in his Washington office to handle, among other things, women's issues.
An ABC News investigation out this morning revealed that Furer had repeated brushes with the law dating back to the 1990s. Those who have had encounters with Furer told ABC News that his presence on Vitter's payroll raised serious questions about the senator's judgment. Melanie Sloan, executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, said it concerns her that the senator has talked so forcefully as an advocate for women and an opponent of drunk driving, and yet would keep someone with Furer's background on his staff.
"It says something terrible about Senator Vitter's judgment that this is the kind of guy he wants to keep in his office," said Sloan, who first alerted ABC News to the assault case. "The people of Louisiana should be asking, 'What does this guy do for Senator Vitter to keep him around?'"
Furer's resignation was reported at 10:30 Wednesday morning by the Associated Press. Vitter spokesman Joel DiGrado told AP that Vitter's office was aware of Furer's arrest for attacking his ex-girlfriend two years ago, but said Vitter was unaware of any other legal issues until the ABC News report. "Senator Vitter accepted the employee's resignation today after learning of the other incidents," spokesman Joel DiGrado said.
Yet in 2003, after Furer pleaded guilty to driving drunk, a pastor who was Vitter's regional director in Louisiana oversaw Furer's court-ordered community service, and did so while Furer continued to work as a key paid staffer on Vitter's first senate campaign.
Family values all day long!
ABC posted a police report from the 2008 incident (PDF
), which shows what a cuddly women's advocate this guy is:
After drinking at a restaurant, the two returned to Furer's Capitol Hill apartment, the report says. Furer "would not let her leave." He "pulled on her coat, which caused it to rip," then "pulled out a knife and stabbed [her] in the hand," the police report says.
Charging documents allege that Furer became angry when he found phone numbers for other men in her blackberry. He smashed her phone when she tried to call 911, the records say, and he shoved her to the floor when she tried to leave, then held his hand over her mouth and threw her on a bed.
Demopoulos told police Furer "uttered the words to her, 'Do you want to get serious.'" Then, the arrest warrant states, Furer "grabbed an unknown object and held it under her neck. The suspect asked the complainant, 'Do you want to die?' The complainant replies and she stated, 'No, I don't want to die.'"
After a 90 minute standoff, Furer made her promise not to call police, and then allowed her to leave. She fled to a friend's house, and was taken by ambulance to the hospital. A slash on her chin took eight stitches to close, the police report says.