Sen. Ensign Calls it Quits, With Ethics Probe Looming
April 21, 2011
(ChattahBox Political News)–Sen. John Ensign (R-NV), the hypocritical family values lawmaker surprised just about everyone today, with the announcement that he is resigning. Just six-weeks ago, Ensign, embattled from a sleazy sex and ethics scandal, announced he would not be running for reelection in 2012, to spare his family from further embarrassment, adding “that there are consequences to sin.” Late today, Ensign abruptly changed course. He released a statement that he was quitting “with tremendous sadness,” due to the impending Senate ethics investigation.
Ensign’s statement went on to say that he’s resigning now to avoid the specter of public ethics hearings into his extramarital affair with the wife of an aide, who also worked for him. When the affair became public, Ensign fired Doug Hampton and his mistress, Cynthia Hampton and paid them both off with $96,000 of his parents’ money.
Ensign later secured Doug Hampton a lobbying job and apparently ran afoul of Senate ethics laws when he tried to secure clients for Hampton. Ensign was able to wiggle out of trouble with the Department of Justice and the FEC for his actions. But Doug Hampton was not so lucky. He faces charges for improperly lobbying Ensign too soon after he stopped working for him.
Below is the portion of Ensign’s statement that references the ethics investigation:
“While I stand behind my firm belief that I have not violated any law, rule, or standard of conduct of the Senate, and I have fought to prove this publicly, I will not continue to subject my family, my constituents, or the Senate to any further rounds of investigation, depositions, drawn out proceedings, or especially public hearings. For my family and me, this continued personal cost is simply too great.
I am gratified that, after extended investigations, both the Department of Justice and the Federal Election Commission saw no grounds on which to charge me with improper conduct. I was hopeful that, with the closure of these investigations against me the wear and tear on my family and me would soon be over. This was not the case.
As is its right, the Senate Ethics Committee is continuing its investigation of issues into which it has been inquiring for the past year and a half. Indeed, the Committee even decided recently to devote more resources to its investigation by hiring an outside counsel even though the issues have been viewed and reviewed by so many others”
What happens now? According to Roll Call, the Republican governor of Nevada would appoint a replacement, who would enjoy the extra boost of incumbency in the 2012 campaign. It’s expected that Gov. Brian Sandoval would appoint Rep. Dean Heller (R), which would likely mean a special election would be called to fill his congressional seat.