The water just keeps getting hotter for the (soon to be former?) Senator from Nevada:
Nevada Sen. John Ensign’s wealthy parents gave his mistress and her family $96,000, the conservative lawmaker revealed Thursday, an admission that further darkened his once-bright career and caused even allies to question his continued effectiveness as a U.S. senator.
The gifts to Cynthia Hampton; her husband, Doug; and two of their children were made “out of concern for the well-being of long-time family friends during a difficult time,” said a statement from Ensign’s attorney. The money was paid in $12,000 increments in April 2008, the month that both Hamptons left Ensign’s employ.
The payments were “consistent with a pattern of generosity” by Ensign’s parents, the statement said. Ensign’s father, Michael, is a former casino mogul who helped bankroll his son’s political rise from congressman to onetime GOP White House aspirant.
The admission came after Doug Hampton alleged in an television interview this week that Ensign paid his wife “a lot more than” $25,000 in severance when she left his campaign and political action committee. Doug Hampton also worked for Ensign, as his top aide. A watchdog group, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, asked the Justice Department to investigate the allegation because neither the campaign nor the PAC had reported the expenditure.
Ensign lawyer Paul Coggins, a former U.S. attorney who specializes in white-collar criminal defense, said Thursday that it was the parents who paid the Hamptons, and that Ensign had followed “all applicable laws and Senate ethics rules.”
Meanwhile, does what happens in Vegas stay with Rick Santorum? Signs point to no!