Two-term Sen. John Ensign, R-Nev., has announced he is resigning from the Senate, effective May 3rd. This follows a prior pledge to remain in the Senate and a rather forced defense that he had not “done anything legally wrong” after he allegedly had an affair with the wife of his top staffer, Doug Hampton.
Ensign insisted that “[f]or my family and me, this continued personal cost is simply too great” in fighting the allegations, including a Senate ethics investigation.
For his part, Doug Hampton says that his life was ruined by Ensign and he now faces jail time after being convicted on seven counts of violating the one-year lobbying ban imposed on senior congressional staffers. The charges include the use of Ensign to set up a meeting in 2009 with Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood on behalf of Allegiant Air, a Las Vegas airline. Hampton faces a potential sentence of five years and is now represented by a public defender. Ensign’s staff have leaked that Doug Hampton demanded a an exorbitant” amount of money from Ensign.
Ensign ran on the fact that he was a born-again Christian and a Senator who brought Christian values to the Senate Indeed, even when asking Doug Hampton to come with him as his chief of staff, it was put in religious terms as not just a longtime friend but a brother in Christ. Hampton explained in one interview: “The intimacy of our relationship, the longevity, would be important for John as he continued to grow in political stature. And he asked me to come on to join him in Washington,” Hampton said. “Walk alongside in whatever capacity possible. … Same kind of model that Jesus exhibited in the Bible.” Ensign was living at the C Street House, a meeting place run by the secretive fundamentalist Christian organization known as the Fellowship.
Even after a confrontation with Ensign and his wife, Doug Hampton insisted that the affair continued and that Ensign continued to call his wife “day and night.”
Cindy Hampton and Darlene Ensign had been friends in high school. In one reunion yearbook in 2001, Cindy is quoted as writing “Doug and I just celebrated our 13th anniversary.Life is awesome and we are truly blessed.” Darlene Ensign is quoted as writing, “We have been very committed to our family and Christ. It’s been a great rollercoaster ride so far!” The latter may be the greatest understatement of the whole affair.
Ultimatley, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics (CREW) in Washington, demanded the Senate investigate whether Ensign is guilty of sexual harassment. The investigation included the allegations that Ensign set up Hampton as a lobbyist to hush up the affair. Ensign’s wealthy parents also reportedly gave Hampton a large amount of money.
Hampton has never sought a civil action against Ensign for a claim such as “alienation of affection.” I believe that Nevada does not have an alienation of affection rule — for good reason given fact that Las Vegas is within the state.