A woman accused of running a Washington prostitution ring placed five phone calls to David Vitter while he was a House member, including two while roll call votes were under way, according to telephone and congressional records.

Vitter, a Louisiana Republican now in the Senate, acknowledged Monday that his number was on the woman’s call list and apologized for a “very serious sin.” The married father of four has remained in seclusion since, missing Senate votes and other activities Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

Telephone records released by Deborah Jeane Palfrey indicate she placed calls that were answered by Vitter’s Washington phone on five occasions while Vitter was in the House, from 1999 through 2001. On four of those five days, the House was in session and Vitter participated in every roll call vote.

One day was particularly busy in the House, with Vitter’s phone receiving Palfrey’s call in the middle of the eighth recorded vote of the day, at 5:06 p.m., according to the records.

The records do not indicate whether Vitter himself took the calls or if another person, an answering machine or another answering device picked up the calls.

Federal prosecutors have accused Palfrey of running a prostitution ring beginning in 1993. She says her escort service, Pamela Martin and Associates, was a legitimate business offering sexual fantasies.

Palfrey has said her practice was to promptly return calls placed to her company, to verify the caller’s identity and decide whether to arrange an appointment with one of her female employees. All types of researchers are now poring over the thousands of numbers she has released in the hope, Palfrey says, of locating defense witnesses for her case.

Vitter, 46, moved to Washington after winning a special House election in May 1999. His wife and children remained back home, as do many lawmakers’ families.

According to the published phone records, the first call placed from Palfrey’s phone to Vitter’s was at 5:57 p.m. on Oct. 12, 1999, a Tuesday. Vitter participated in three House roll call votes that day, beginning at 7:45 p.m.

On Monday, Sept. 18, 2000, Palfrey called Vitter’s phone at 6:36 p.m., records indicate. Vitter joined 376 colleagues at about that time in voting to approve the District of Columbia and United States Territories Circulating Quarter Dollar Program Act. The roll call began at 6:30 p.m., according to House records, and ended at 6:39.

Lawmakers often spend only seconds or minutes to vote in the House chamber and then leave to make calls, check messages or chat with aides or colleagues.

Palfrey’s third call to Vitter’s phone was placed at 5:06 p.m. on Oct. 26, 2000, a Thursday. Vitter voted in all 10 roll calls that day, starting at midmorning and ending well after dark. Palfrey’s phone call came during a 21-minute recorded vote in which Vitter joined most of his GOP colleagues in approving the Small Business Investment Act.

The fourth call was placed at 4:39 p.m. on Feb. 11, 2001, a Sunday. The fifth was placed at 3:06 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2001, more than two hours before Vitter voted in the day’s only House roll call. It was Mardi Gras, an especially festive day in New Orleans, which is near Vitter’s home town of Metairie.

Vitter, a Harvard graduate and Rhodes Scholar, was elected to the Senate in 2004. He faces re-election in 2010.


  1. Anytime a politition is exposed for practicing the opposite of what he preaches it is right thing to do, no matter the issue. Don’t be surprised if Flynt turns up many more of them from both parties. Those dumb enough to use their own phones.

  2. Larry Flint is far from done. He plans to out every politician that is any way involved with this story. He sees it as Payback time, the time long ago when politicians sought to put him in jail for as long as the law would allow.
    Mr. Vitter is but the first to go down but, how far will he really go.
    The mentality of the typical Republican wife, is to listen when her husband confesses to his sins then ask for forgivness, he’ll get it everytime. She will act as if nothing ever happened but, it will be as if it never happened.
    If there are any Democratic bad boys, it will be interesting to witness how the wife reacts. I only know of one Democratic hanky panky, that was Bill Clinton. He was forgiven by Hillery but, I have the feeling the private times together were just a bit uncomfortable for Bill perhaps for a long time.

    Taking One Day at a Time

  3. It’s a common misconception that a man’s choice to use the services of a prostitute is anti-marriage or anti-family. Quite the opposite!

    Many men who use the services of prostitutes do so because they aren’t getting something at home — and I don’t mean that in any way that is judgmental. A lot of factors go in to a couple’s sex life (or lack thereof).

    So what are a person’s options when they find they’re just not getting what they need or crave? Facing a life of self-denial is one option, I suppose — although not a particularly pleasant one!

    Then too, I suppose they can dump their current spouse for someone more exciting — and I notice that several “family values” Republicans have done just that! But some men value their wives over and above their value as sex partners. For many men, their wives are partners, friends, soul mates, the mothers of their children, the person they’ve built and shared a home with. Even if the marriage isn’t all that happy, they may not wish to divorce for the stress it would place on their children, extended family, friends, community, etc. Some people actually take their marriage vows seriously. They view marriage as being much more than just about access to sex.

    And then there are guys who would never go to a prostitute, but who would have an affair or look for “one night stands.” Affairs are stressful, as it creates conflicting commitments, and one night stands — well, many single guys find them way too much trouble and risk. That would be multipled for the average married guy.

    So the reasonable option really is to seek out the services of a professional. You know what you’re going to get and what it’s going to cost you. Men who use prostitutes go get what they need, then they go home with a clear conscience to be the partner and father they vowed to be, without any fear of anything coming back to haunt them or any lingering guilt. They return to their partners with their needs met and no urge to put their needs on a partner who may not welcome them.

    In the future, I think a whole industry will arise to provide a similar service for women. It may not be exactly the same as prostitution services for men — it will be customized specifically to the needs and sensibilities of women who are in committed relationships and who simply find that they’re not getting enough of what they need/crave. Maybe to some degree it already exists in the spas, manicure salons, etc. Men and women are so different (so as to complement each other, by nature’s design!).

    With respect to prostitution being illegal in the US, that is just plain SICK. When you look at all the ugly violent things that are legal, it makes no sense. Frankly, I think it’s misogynistic! It’s all about how women aren’t allowed to OWN their own sexualities. If the shoe were on the other foot — if most sex workers were men and if most people purchasing sex services were women, I bet the laws would be VERY different!

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