Thursday, July 09, 2009

Uh Oh: Coburn Knew Of Ensign Affair

Hotline, And reportedly urged him to pay off the mistress and her husband.
Double trouble.
Can you say Senate ethics investigation?
Jon Ralston of the Las Vegas Sun interviewed Doug Hampton, husband of GOP Sen. John Ensign's mistress, who said that Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) and others urged Ensign to end the affair, help the Hamptons pay off their home and move to CO. But Ensign was "so infatuated" that he continued, Hampton said.

John Hart, a Coburn spokesman, released a statement yesterday saying Ensign should have ended the affair.

"Dr. Coburn did everything he could to encourage Senator Ensign to end his affair and to persuade Senator Ensign to repair the damage he had caused to his own marriage and the Hampton's marriage," according to the statement. "Had Senator Ensign followed Dr. Coburn's advice, this episode would have ended, and been made public, long ago."
Cynthia Hampton was the treasurer of Ensign's political action committee and re-election campaign, while Doug Hampton served as a senior aide on Ensign's Senate staff. Meanwhile, per the Las Vegas Sun, Doug Hampton said Ensign paid his wife more than $25K in severance when she stopped working for the senator. And if true, the paper suggests that Ensign faces a possible felony violation of campaign finance law if he failed to report the money as an in-kind contribution to the campaign committees where she worked.
So now Coburn is ensnared in the Ensign drama. And the Ensign mess involves more than an extramarital affair but a possible pay off. Trouble ahead.
UPDATE: Now, in a letter to Politico, Ensign's lawyer has revealed that the senator's parents gave a "gift" of nearly $100,000 to the family of Cindy Hampton out of his private funds. [LSB: Haul out the popcorn - this story is a long way from being complete.]
UPDATE II: Sen. Tom Coburn said he would invoke privilege if asked about advice he gave to Sen. John Ensign on handling an extramarital affair. Coburn said he was talking to Ensign about his tryst with a former staffer in his capacities as a doctor and a man of the cloth, Roll Call reported. "I was counseling him as a physician and as an ordained deacon," Coburn said. "That is privileged communication that I will never reveal to anybody. Not to the (Senate) Ethics Committee, not to a court of law, not to anybody." [JEB: Politics as usual for the party of "NO." BTW, Coburn is an OB-GYN; how exactly was he counseling Ensign as a physician? Does privilege extend to deacons, or just to the ordained clergy? Does Coburn's silence based on these flimsy excuses help or hurt Ensign's case? How is Coburn's reputation with the voters in his state affected by his association with this sordid - and possibly (financially) illegal - affair? Stayed tuned for the next shoe to drop!]

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