updated 5/9/2008 12:44:54 PM ET 2008-05-09T16:44:54

The Senate Ethics Committee has decided not to investigate Louisiana Senator David Vitter.

The Republican was linked to an elite Washington prostitution ring owned by Deborah Jean Palfrey. Palfrey committed suicide May 1st, two weeks after being convicted of racketeering and money laundering.

The bipartisan ethics panel says it decided against a probe because the conduct occurred before Vitter became a senator. And it says it didn't result in any criminal charges or involve the improper use of his public office or status.

The group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Government had called for an investigation and is blasting the decision, saying Vitter doesn't even get a slap on the wrist. Says deputy director Naomi Seligman: "The Senate ethics committee has once again done what is does best: nothing."

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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