Ensign Probe Heats Up: Senate Panel Reportedly Subpoenaing For Documents
A Senate probe of Sen. John Ensign (R-Nev.) is heating up, according to a reporter for the Las Vegas Sun.
"Sources confirm that the Senate panel has begun issuing subpoenas for documents, including to key players in the case involving U.S. Sen. John Ensign's scandal. The committee appears to be trying to connect the dots between Doug Hampton's post-Ensign tenure and what role the senator played in getting him jobs that allowed the former chief-of-staff to contact the Senate office and what those contacts involved," Jon Ralston told Political Wire.
Doug Hampton, the husband of Ensign's mistress, went on ABC's "Nightline" in November and said he believed Ensign abused his power during the affair. Hampton said he was "crystal clear" that a payment from Ensign's parents was actually a severance, which might violate campaign finance rules.
Hampton's wife Cindy was a campaign treasurer for two committees connected to Senator Ensign. Doug Hampton served as a top aide on Ensign's Senate staff. After leaving his post with Ensign, Hampton quickly landed jobs with companies associated with the senator. He worked briefly for a consulting firm founded by Ensign's closest adviser, Mike Slanker. His biggest client was a Las Vegas-based airline whose executives have contributed generously to Ensign over the years.
When Hampton sought help to stop the affair, he reached out to Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), who lives with Ensign in a house on C Street in Washington associated with a secretive Christian group. After an emotional meeting with Coburn, Hampton says he was encouraged to forgive his old friend. Ensign wrote a letter to Cindy calling off the affair, but immediately afterward phoned her and told her to ignore the note. (He moved out of the C Street home in November.)
"[The people at C Street] think the consequences don't apply," Hampton told "Nightline." "This is about preserving John, preserving the Republican party, this is about preserving C Street. These men care about themselves and their own political careers, period."