VITTER’S CHALLENGING HURDLE…. Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) would no doubt love nothing more than for people to forget about his habit of championing “family values” while, on the side, paying prostitutes for extramarital sex. But that’s proving to be difficult.

Take the latest ACORN controversy, for example. As you’ve probably heard, some conservative activists, posing as sex workers, secretly filmed an exchange in which a former ACORN employee advised them on how to avoid paying taxes.

Vitter, who describes himself as “the Senate’s most outspoken critic of ACORN,” hopes to capitalize on the controversy created by the video. Jake Tapper reported yesterday:

Vitter has introduced a bill that would deny any federal funds to the group, which bills itself as the nation’s largest grassroots organization serving low-income and middle-income Americans.

“After months of beating the drum and continued news reports of criminal investigations, the president and his administration are finally starting to distance themselves from ACORN. The Census dropping ACORN as a partner is a good, common sense move. Now we must go one step further and support my simple and direct amendment, which declares that no federal funds should go ACORN,” said Vitter.

The Louisiana Democratic Party, however, points out a point of potential awkwardness for the senator — the fake prostitution ring the young conservative journalists at talked about, versus the very real ones Vitter was accused of having frequented.

Exactly. Seeing Vitter express outrage about advice for make-believe prostitutes only invites everyone else to ask, “Hey, aren’t you that guy who ran on a ‘family-values’ platform and then got caught cheating on your wife with hookers?”

What’s more, on Monday, when the Senate was voting to cut off HUD funding for ACORN, Vitter didn’t show up, citing a “scheduling” problem.

It’s a reminder that Vitter has come to be defined by a sex scandal that’s difficult to overcome. Last week, he started talking about “character” in government, which immediately reminded observers of his prostitution problem. In July, Vitter urged Republicans to “get back to core conservative values,” which immediately reminded observers of his prostitution problem.

Now he’s targeting ACORN over a prostitution controversy? Vitter is just making this easy.

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Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.