John Ensign Creates Legal Defense Fund To Pay For Ethics Probes

06/03/2010 05:55 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

WASHINGTON (AP / HUFFINGTON POST)-- Sen. John Ensign of Nevada has set up a defense fund to help pay some of the legal expenses stemming from two government investigations.

The investigations by the Senate Ethics Committee and the Justice Department began after Ensign acknowledged having an affair with former campaign staffer Cindy Hampton and helping her husband, Doug Hampton, find lobbying work.

The documents were filed on Friday and spell out rules for the donations that can be taken in. For example, the trust cannot accept more than $10,000 from any one donor per year. Nor can it accept money from lobbyists, lobbying firms, members of the Senate and their employees, or from unions or corporations.

The first $10 for the trust came from Ensign himself. That's $95,990 less than the check Ensign's parents gave to his mistress.

The Las Vegas Review-Journal reports that the senator may be taking a financial hit because of the defense costs in the two ethics investigations:

According to personal finance reports Ensign filed with the Senate, his family savings and checking accounts dropped significantly during 2009, when he would have begun incurring big retainer fees.

At the end of 2008, accounts with Bank of America, Wells Fargo and the U.S. Senate Federal Credit Union contained at least $401,000. By the end of 2009, those accounts held no more than $351,000.