Friday, April 22, 2011

The Gift That Keeps on Giving

SENATOR WONDERFUL, HIMSELF: Sen. John Ensign, [R, Nev.] (above) is shown with his wife, Darlene, announcing on March 7th in Las Vegas that he wouldn't seek re-election. Now the coward has robbed us of even his remaining 20 months in office, announcing yesterday he'll resign effective May 3rd.
Robbing us of 20 more months of blog-fodder, Sen. John Ensign [R. Nev.] announced Thursday that not only is he not running for reelection in 2012, but the cowardly hypocrite is now going to resign his seat, effective May 3, 2011. While Ensign thought he'd solved his problems by announcing his plans earlier this year not to run for reelection - and, indeed, that announcement led to the end of one investigation - Ensign recently found out that now he is facing another ethics investigation over his affair with a former campaign aide, and his shenanigans in trying to cover it up.

The 52-year-old Republican blowhard - a Jesus-freak who no doubt read the Bible while porking his aide - acknowledged in June 2009 that he had an extramarital affair with Cynthia Hampton, a former member of his campaign staff, and that he had helped her husband, Doug Hampton, a member of his congressional staff, obtain lobbying work with a Nevada company.

This latest ethics investigation focuses in part on $96,000 that Ensign's parents gave to the Hamptons, which Ensign's attorney has hilariously characterized as a 'gift'.

In his resignation notice Thursday, Ensign said the appointment of the latest special counsel shook him because he had hoped the investigation would end with his announcement not to run again. "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," Ensign's statement read. "For my family and me, this continued personal cost is simply too great." Indeed, defense lawyers are expensive.

Meanwhile, Ensign at least gets rid of one ethics investigation, that of the Senate Ethics [oxymoron alert] Committee. With Ensign gone from the Senate, the Ethics Committee will have no jurisdiction in the matter.

Chair of the Senate Ethics Committee, Sen. Barbara Boxer [D, Calif], wasted no time kicking the Nevada dead horse by publicly agreeing with Ensign's decision. It was a bit surprising, though, that Committee Vice Chair Sen. Johnny Isakson [R, Ga.] joined Boxer in issuing a statement Thursday that Ensign "made the appropriate decision" in stepping down. "The Senate Ethics Committee has worked diligently for 22 months on this matter and will complete its work in a timely fashion," the senators self-servingly said.

Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval [Nev.] will now appoint someone to serve the remainder of Ensign's term. It is believed he will choose U.S. Rep. Dean Heller [R, Nev.] to give his Party the advantage of incumbency in what is expected to be a highly competitive seat that could - in fact - decide which party controls the Senate in 2013.

Ensign's resignation actually improves Republicans' chances, as he had a better chance of being named Pope than he did of winning reelection. Thus, even though he was the third Senate Republican to decide not to seek re-election [joining Assistant Senate Republican Leader Jon Kyl (R, Ariz) Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R, Tx)], it is a welcome relief for the GOP - and most people who believe in an afterlife.

In looking back at the case, the Hamptons were hired by Ensign in 2006 — Doug Hampton as a top aide in the Senate office and Cindy Hampton to work on the Ensign for Senate and his PAC campaign committees. Ensign and Cindy Hampton began their affair in December 2007. Doug Hampton discovered the affair because - in addition to being a philanderer - Ensign is also a moron, sending Cindy text messages found by Doug.

The latest investigation surrounds what happened next: in April 2008, Ensign's parents, Mike and Sharon Ensign, gave the Hampton family $96,000. Ensign characterized the money as given "out of concern for the well-being of longtime family friends during a difficult time."

The Hamptons left Ensign's staff that May, but Doug Hampton began consulting for a firm founded by Ensign's closest adviser and run by former Ensign aides.

Presumably, Ensign figured the $96,000 permitted him to continue boinking Mrs. Hampton, as their affair didn't end until August 2008. That same month, Doug Hampton was hired as an executive of Las Vegas-based Allegiant Air, an airline run by Ensign political contributor Maurice Gallagher.

While Ensign was surprised at the timing of word of the investigation, he had to know he was in trouble when Doug Hampton was indicted March 24th by a federal grand jury in Washington on charges he violated federal criminal conflict of interest laws.

While we won't have Ensign to kick around anymore after May 3rd, hopefully Doug Hampton's upcoming trial will make the whole affair - pun very much intended - the 'gift' that keeps on giving.

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