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Ex-Sen. John Ensign Broke Law, Committee Finds

Sen. John Ensign

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Sen. John Ensign (R-Nevada) recent resignation may not be enough to keep him out of trouble.

The Washington Post reports that the Senate ethics committee on Thursday took the rare step of referring to federal investigators “substantial and credible evidence” of criminal violations that centered around his effort to cover up an extra marital affair with a campaign  aide. The allegation were contained in a 75-page report by a special counsel hired by the committee.

The Post reported that Ensign conspired to help Douglas Hampton, his former aide, lobby the senator’s office despite a one-year lobbying ban — all in violation of federal law.

Ensign had an affair with Hampton’s wife, Cynthia Hampton, a campaign aide. The Post reported the work as a lobbyist was meant to replace Douglas Hampton’s Senate salary.

The Senate Ethics Committee also stated that Ensign may have violated federal law by asking his parents to make what appeared to be an illegal $96,000 severance payment to the Hamptons, the report said, according to the Post.

Mr. Ensign’s lawyers released a statement Thursday, according to the Post.

“Senator Ensign has admitted and apologized for his conduct and imposed on himself the highest sanction of resignation,” the statement said. “But this is not the same as agreeing that he did or intended to violate any laws or rules.”

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