The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) spends less than 1/2 of 1% of their money on animal shelters (which is where most Americans think the money goes). The remaining 99 and 1/2% goes to a variety of other places, including political campaigns. The largest recipient of HSUS cash in the current election cycle is Senator David Vitter (R – LA).
Currently, Sen. Vitter is perhaps best known for refusing to debate his opponent while facing a serious ethics complaint from a non-partisan watchdog group (pdf here). The complaint involves Sen. Vitter’s alleged office expense account being used to inappropriately funnel cash to a legislative aide who oversaw women’s issues for the Senator, and was arrested for attacking his former girlfriend with a knife. The current complaint may re-open the investigation into the Senator’s years of use of the DC Madam’s prostitution services.
Apparently considering himself an authority on the sanctity of marriage, Sen. Vitter supports amending the Constitution to prevent same sex couples from marrying, even comparing marriage equality to Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. He has embraced and then attempted to wriggle out of various wacky conspiracy theories from President Obama being a secret Kenyan to health care reform legislation being a secret ploy to institute government death panels. When BP recklessly filled the Gulf of Mexico with oil this summer, Sen. Vitter sought to cap BP’s financial liability and thus limit the amount of compensation his constituents could receive in damages from the oil monster.
For me, it’s hard to figure out where the appeal of David Vitter lies. But apparently for HSUS, the fact that he’s co-sponsoring the PUPS bill is enough to open the cash floodgates. Maybe the PUPS bill is good, maybe it’s not. I can’t say I’ve looked into it enough yet although I am generally in favor of enforcing existing animal welfare laws (which we continue to fail to do) before we pile on new additions. Regardless of the merits of the PUPS bill though, I just have to ask – is David Vitter really that great of a politician that HSUS should push so much money at him? Especially considering the facts that Sen. Vitter has consistently outraised his opponent by a wide margin and leads in the polls by double digits? In other words, David Vitter doesn’t need any money or support from HSUS. So why are they spending more money to support his campaign than anyone else’s?