Sen. David Vitter’s (R-LA) office apparently paid for a staffer’s trips from Washington, D.C., to Louisiana when the staffer was due to appear in court on drunken driving charges.
The Advocate reports that Vitter paid for Brent Furer — the aide who resigned earlier this year over reports of his domestic violence and DWI charges — to take two trips to Baton Rouge in 2007 and 2008. The trips coincided with court dates related to Furer’s most recent DWI arrest in 2004.
According to the paper, Vitter’s office reimbursed Furer $634.20 for a trip to Louisiana from Oct. 12, 2007, to Oct. 18.
And court records show that Furer appeared in court on Oct. 17. They also show he served a litter detail on Oct. 13 and 14.
The second trip, costing taxpayers $746 and lasting from Aug. 5, 2008 to Aug. 14, coincided with an Aug. 7 appearance in Baton Rouge court, where Furer signed a probation agreement.
Vitter’s office did not immediately return calls for comment. But his spokesman told The Advocate that Vitter “certainly doesn’t condone any questionable timing of these trips.”
“The senator did not know about any Baton Rouge DWI incident until it was reported in the press just this past June,” he added. “It is standard for our Washington legislative staff to visit Louisiana periodically for meetings.”
When the domestic violence and DWI charges surfaced in June (first reported by ABC News), Vitter admitting to knowing about the assault charges, and defended his decision to keep Furer on the payroll — handling women’s issues — by pointing out that he wasn’t convicted on the most serious charge.
Vitter also claimed he didn’t know about the three DWI arrests, and that’s when he asked for his resignation.
But — as ABC and the Advocate have reported — Furer did his community service for a church whose pastor is a paid regional director for Vitter in Baton Rouge.