The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release
Contact: Jordan Libowitz,,,.

CREW Files Supplements to Complaints Against Sen. Ensign


Today, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW)
provided additional information to the Federal Bureau of Investigation
(FBI) and the Senate Select Committee on Ethics, supplementing the
complaints CREW filed against Sen. John Ensign (R-NV) in June based on
activities surrounding his affair with a campaign staffer, Cynthia

On June 16, 2009, Sen. Ensign confessed he had engaged in an affair
with Ms. Hampton, his campaign and PAC treasurer, who was married to
Doug Hampton, the Senator's administrative assistant. A number of legal
and ethics violations stem from that affair, which are detailed in
CREW's original complaint, found here.

Today's letters provide additional information and note new possible violations stemming from Sen. Ensign's conduct.

A New York Times October 2
story indicates Sen. Ensign illegally helped his former administrative
assistant Doug Hampton violate a one-year lobbying ban and then
assisted Mr. Hampton's clients with their legislative agendas. The
additional information details how Mr. Hampton failed to register as a
lobbyist, and lobbied his former office before the end of the one-year
cooling off period. Sen. Ensign assisted Mr. Hampton by finding
lobbying clients for him and then meeting with those clients at Mr.
Hampton's behest. Mr. Hampton clearly violated the lobbying ban and
Sen. Ensign appears to have conspired with him to violate the ban. Sen.
Ensign also may have committed honest services fraud by contacting
federal officials at the request of Mr. Hampton.

The New York Times story also refutes Sen. Ensign's
characterization of a $96,000 payment to the Hampton family as a gift
from his parents. Mr. Hampton's contemporaneous notes show the payment
was intended as severance. It appears Sen. Ensign described the payment
as a gift in order to avoid reporting the payment to the Federal
Election Commission (FEC), which might have forced him to explain it

The letter to the Senate ethics committee also asks that Senator Tom
Coburn (R-OK), who met with Mr. Hampton and at least one of his
clients, Allegiant Air, be investigated for his role in helping Mr.
Hampton violate the lobbying ban. CREW also asked the committee to
investigate Sen. Coburn for lying to reporters when he categorically
denied serving as an intermediary in the Hamptons' efforts to secure
restitution from Sen. Ensign. Sen. Coburn admitted to the Times that he brought Mr. Hampton's request for a $2 million payment to Sen. Ensign, who rejected it.

Melanie Sloan, executive director of CREW, said today, "To say that
Sen. Ensign has shown himself unfit for office could be the
understatement of the year. He has proved himself to be a philandering
criminal disguised as a U.S. Senator. Sen. Ensign should be
investigated by both the FBI and the ethics committee and the committee
should also delve into Sen. Coburn's role in the tawdry affair. The
American people deserve to learn the truth about their elected

Read CREW's letters to the Senate ethics committee and the FBI in the Related Documents section on the right.

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to promoting ethics and accountability in government and public life by targeting government officials -- regardless of party affiliation -- who sacrifice the common good to special interests. CREW advances its mission using a combination of research, litigation and media outreach.