U.S. Sen. David Vitter received a response from Gen. Wesley Clark last week regarding Vitter's invitation to publicly debate Clark's campaign for free government cell phones. Vitter had also previously asked Clark to disclose who was paying for his advocacy campaign to promote free cell phones. In Clark's response he did not disclose who was financially responsible nor did he commit to any of the dates Vitter proposed for a debate. Vitter followed up with him today.
"I'm very disappointed that he's still refusing to fulfill the two clear commitments he made to me in our telephone conversation," Vitter said. "Clark's spokesperson said that a "public affairs company that represents veterans advocacy groups' sponsored his trip to Louisiana. I want to know if any companies who receive funds from the fraud-ridden Lifeline program financially support this public affairs company, Clark, or his liberal political PAC. Furthermore, he won't commit to a date for a debate he agreed to."
Vitter first challenged Clark to a debate after Clark was in Louisiana on September 30 criticizing Vitter's efforts to end the free government cellphone program known as Lifeline. Vitter has legislation to end the free cell phone portion of Lifeline and cites massive fraud surrounding the program. Clark agreed to a debate in a phone conversation with Vitter. Click here to read more.
In October, the Federal Communications Commission, who administers Lifeline, announced major penalties against Lifeline companies totaling $14.4 million for the violation of companies' signing up the same persons multiple times.
Click here for the news report about Clark's first visit to Louisiana and Vitter's response.
Below is a copy of Vitter's letter back to Clark today.
November 18, 2013
General Wesley K. Clark
Wesley K. Clark & Associates, LLC
P.O. Box 3276
Little Rock, Arkansas 72203
VIA ELECTRONIC MAIL
Dear General Clark:
Thank you for your November 15 letter. I am very disappointed that you are still refusing to fulfill the two clear commitments you made to me in our October 8 telephone conversation: 1) to answer in writing my basic questions about your financial ties to companies making millions off the free government cell phone program; and 2) to quickly choose one or more dates for a public debate with me on the issue in Louisiana.
Please keep these clear commitments that you made.
On the first point, let me restate my question so that you can answer it directly in writing:
The press report of your last Louisiana visit quotes your spokesperson as saying vaguely that a "public affairs company that represents veterans advocacy groups" sponsored your trip. Who are this company and its financial backers? In particular, do any companies who receive funds from the fraud-ridden Lifeline program financially support this public affairs company, you, your liberal political PAC, or any company in which you have a significant interest?
On the second point, I have given you numerous dates on which I'm available through several letters and emails. I do so again: Friday, November 22 in Shreveport; Monday, November 25 at 9:30 am in Baton Rouge; Friday, December 6, at 3:00 pm in Baton Rouge; and Friday, December 13 in Lafayette.
Of course, veterans with free government cell phones are most welcome to participate fully in our debate. There would be no screening of attendees or questions/comments from the audience. In addition, I would be eager to talk to those veterans after the debate, as I will with any other attendees who would like that opportunity.
You signed your recent letter "Veterans Advocate." I question that self-bestowed title when you won't disclose who's paying for that advocacy or set dates for a public debate.