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John Ensign Ethics Probe Ramps Up -- So Does His Reelection Campaign

4 years ago
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Just hours after the Senate Ethics Committee appointed a special counsel to lead the investigation into his affair with a former staffer, Sen. John Ensign (R-Nev.) said Tuesday his reelection campaign was ramping up its fundraising efforts.

Ensign downplayed the panel's appointment and said his campaign was moving "full speed ahead," Politico reported. The senator said he'd be hosting a fundraiser Wednesday in Washington D.C.

The announcement that veteran criminal defense lawyer Carol Elder Bruce would head up the Ensign probe came as a surprise to many on Capitol Hill. It's the first time in two decades that the ethics panel has appointed a special counsel to investigate a senator, according to The Washington Post.

Ensign is being investigated over his admitted affair with Cynthia Hampton, his former campaign treasurer. Her husband, Doug Hampton, was once a member of Ensign's congressional staff.

The ethics panel will look into whether Ensign broke federal law and congressional rules by helping Doug Hampton find lobbying work after he left the senator's office in April 2008. He has denied any wrongdoing.

Ensign, 52, caught a big break late last year when federal prosecutors announced he would not face charges related to payments he made following the extramarital affair.

The Federal Election Commission dismissed a complaint against Ensign over a $96,000 payment his parents made to his former mistress and her family. The FEC disagreed with allegations that the money given to Cynthia Hampton amounted to an illegal political donation.

The appointment of a special prosecutor suggests the probe could last well into the 2012 election season.

Politico said "there's clear concern within Republican circles that his candidacy" -- coinciding with an ethics investigation -- "could jeopardize GOP chances of holding that Nevada seat" next year.
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106 Comments

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sterlingbykenny

I am a states rights activist. a la jefferson davis. I've been going to las vegas since the 70's. Awful/awful weather windy hot etc. nearly depleted of water. but a fine to place to live if one likes ******/booze/and gambling. cigarettes are cheap. booze is cheap. and no one has to live there if they want. ensign is a perfect fit. his mommy and daddy still protect him. 96000 worth. ensign is understood by the people of nevada/he is one of them. my only concern is when in washington,does his wife entertain. i mean outside of vegas is it appropriate for philanderers to lead. is she stands by her man the least the man could do is run for gov. please someone explain to me how a slighted woman could show her face nationally. I suppose the democrats will focus on nude pics. of her and misstress to compare. when palin quit a 35000 job for 2000000/ god bless her am i the only one who thinks this isrepulsive?

February 07 2011 at 5:13 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
rheagm1

Is this supposed to scare us so we won't write anything negative about someone. Well, let Ensign run, he will lose big time as he is guilty & needs to get out of politics. He was condemning others while he was doing the same & worse. Zip it up Ensign, both your pants & your lips & get out of town!!

February 02 2011 at 4:28 PM Report abuse +11 rate up rate down Reply
mdlow1866

He is a politician,they all lie,steal,cheat. If you held that against them there wouldn't be any one in office to run are country into the sewer!! Some are just a little more insidious then others,like the ones that take bribes to fatten there wallet,regaurdless of the fact that its not good for the country!! So what if he can't keep his pants zipped up!! Who was the republican senator that tried to have sex with an undercover cop in the mens room at the airport,now thats nasty!!.I don't think he got booted out of office?? My point is don't try to hold are public officials to any moral standards,its a waste of time!!

February 02 2011 at 4:14 PM Report abuse +7 rate up rate down Reply
harolddundee

Nothing new here just another corrupt politician.

February 02 2011 at 4:06 PM Report abuse +7 rate up rate down Reply
jwosr98

He has nothing to worry about look at Charlie Rangel.

February 02 2011 at 3:55 PM Report abuse -5 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to jwosr98's comment
flazhman

Charlie Rangel got cesured, David Vitter committed a felony in DC by paying for sex and wound up getting a standing ovation, from his Republican colleagues and Larry Craig didn't get in any trouble for accosting an under cover officer in an airport mens room so quit with your false comparisons.

February 05 2011 at 12:54 PM Report abuse +5 rate up rate down Reply
chaps707

Just another politician who can't keep his tallywacker behind his zipper.........Nevada will most likely re-elect him just as they did with Dirty Harry.......and of course the path has already been trodden by Slick Willy.....so it must be ok for everyone....

February 02 2011 at 3:44 PM Report abuse -6 rate up rate down Reply
kbbaldwin

I agree with wongtpa. It is Ensign's performance as a Senator, not his private life, that should be considered in an election. The fact that he is a a lying, cheating, weasel is not relevent. As long as he says the right things required of a conserative, it doesn't matter if he lives them or even believes them.

February 02 2011 at 3:42 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to kbbaldwin's comment
Tom

How open minded of you. Were you this open-minded during the Clinton/Lewinsky affair?

February 02 2011 at 5:43 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
pcfriar66

Another misleaqing headline. He is NOT being investigated for the affair itself. That is a private matter betweenhe, his wife and the other woman. Thge invesigation concerns whether he misused his office to get the other woman's husband, who was onhis staff, get a lobbyist job.

February 02 2011 at 3:34 PM Report abuse +8 rate up rate down Reply
geocur3971

Now let's see... How shall we excuse yet ANOTHER immoral and/or crooked Republican elected official...?

Or has the FEC already shown us here...?

February 02 2011 at 3:33 PM Report abuse +11 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to geocur3971's comment
davec21gw

Probably the same way Democrats excused Charlie Rangel and Maxine Waters.

February 02 2011 at 3:58 PM Report abuse -7 rate up rate down Reply
wongtpa

Ensign's private life doen not effect his constituency and he should be judged on his performance as a senator. Comparing him to Harry Reid, Ensign gets a "B-" and Reid gets a "F-"!!

February 02 2011 at 3:26 PM Report abuse -10 rate up rate down Reply

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