David Vitter’s Dirty Laundry

Photo by dsb nola, <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/derek_b/3934720053/">via Flickr</a>.

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Earlier this month, an employee for the California-based US Dry Cleaning Corporation admitted in an interview that the company had funneled campaign donations through its employees to the campaign of Sen. David Vitter (R-La.). The company was angling for federal stimulus funds to help their ailing business, and allegedly reimbursed four employees for donations totaling $38,400 to Vitter’s campaign committee. This, of course, would be illegal.

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission against US Dry Cleaning Corporation, Vitter, and his campaign committee. FEC rules prohibit corporations from making donations to federal candidates, and they also bar them from funneling money through their employees. And candidates are prohibited from accepting these illegal contributions. CREW wants the FEC to investigate “whether Sen. Vitter knowingly participated in this illegal scheme.”

Why a California dry cleaning business would choose Vitter as its champion isn’t entirely clear. He voted against the stimulus, so it’s not clear how much he could have helped US Dry Cleaning, which filed for federal bankruptcy last month. The Times-Picayune notes that some dry cleaners are urging the Environmental Protection Agency to slow down rules phasing out the chemical perchloroethylene, which could have something to do with it. Vitter is a big foe of EPA regulations and an ardent supporter of the chemical industry, which is big in his state. This wouldn’t be the first time he’s gone to bat for toxic chemicals.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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