That would include Senator John Ensign, Cindy Hampton, Doug Hampton, Senator Tom Coburn, the Christians of ‘C Street’ and at least 9 payments totaling $121,000. This is really an obscene ‘affair’, putting on display the worst of people’s characters: selfishness, lust, greed, jealousy, convenient self-righteousness, political gamesmanship and payoffs, extortion, and clambering for fame and attention. And absolutely nobody, to this minute, has come close to telling the whole truth.
Here’s the big overview of what’s (perhaps) known as of now:
John Ensign is a Republican Senator from Nevada (Dem. Majority Leader Harry Reid is the other). Doug and Cindy Hampton work for Ensign (both in Nevada and in Washington D.C., apparently, but that’s not entirely clear).
At Christmas recess at the end of 2007, back in Nevada, burglar(s) breaks into the Hampton house. And away we go…
–Ensigns tell Hamptons they can move in with them, and they do.
–Affair between John Ensign and Cindy Hampton begins (see how dirty this is already?).
–Dec. 23rd, while picking up his son at the airport (with the Ensigns perhaps nearby? unclear-), Doug Hampton intercepts a (‘dirty’?) text message between the adulterers that makes it clear they’re lovers, or cheaters.
–Hampton confronts one or both, and the truth’s admitted.
–Next day, the 24th, a giant ‘meeting’ or ‘confessional’ is convened inside the Ensign house with all the members of both families present. Ensign apologizes. It is not clear what Cindy does or says. Merry Christmas everyone.
–The Hamptons press forward, continuing to work for Ensign.
–Doug Hampton comes to believe Ensign is not contrite for his behavior. Believes he is, in fact, still pursuing Cindy.
–Hampton contacts members of devout Christian D.C. organization ‘C Street’ (aka ‘The Prayer House’) to prevail upon affiliated Senator Ensign to leave his wife alone.
–Some time in February 2008, a group of C Street members, including ultra-conservative Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn, confront Ensign. Hampton alleges that during the meeting, C Streeters implore Ensign to make good for his transgressions, including arranging for money to be paid to the Hamptons so that they may move away from Ensign, to go to Colorado.
–During this meeting, Ensign writes (in probably insulting language) a letter (see here) to Cindy apologizing for his behavior:
“What I did with you was wrong. I was completely self-centered + only thinking of myself. I used you for my own pleasure, not letting thoughts of you, Doug, [childrens’ names] come into my mind…I betrayed everything I believed in and lied to myself over + over. I justified my actions because I blamed my wife.
Doug has been a great friend to me through the years + I threw all of that away over wanting to feel good.
I take 100 % responsibility for my actions, plain + simple it was wrong; it was sin. God never intended for me to do this. I walked away from Him and my relationship with Him has suffered terribly. I know He loves me and He loves you. He wants to restore Doug and you.”
–Ensign then almost immediately disavows the letter.
–The affair (probably) continues to run through August of 2008.
–Fast forward to June 15th of this year: an obviously still unsatisfied Hampton, having written and copied his own letter about the affair, sends it in an e-mail to Fox News’ Megyn Kelly.
“The actions of Senator Ensign have ruined our lives and careers and left my family in shambles”…”I need justice, help and restitution for what Senator Ensign has done to me and my family”.
–Fox contacts Hampton but does not find him credible. They do not break the story.
–The next day, June 16th, Ensign calls a press conference and admits the affair. Typical D.C. pandemonium ensues.
–June 19th, Ensign’s office releases a statement:
“Within the past month, Doug Hampton’s legal counsel made exorbitant demands for cash and other financial benefits on behalf of his client.”
–Yesterday, July 8th, KLAS TV and Jon Ralston aired the first part of a sit-down interview (see it here) with Doug Hampton in which he spells out his version of the whole dirty business, including some money transaction(s).
Hampton said Ensign paid the woman more than $25,000 in severance when she stopped working for the senator…
Knowingly and willfully failing to report a contribution of more than $25,000 is a criminal violation subject to five years in prison, according to complaints filed last month by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington.
–Today, Sen. Tom Coburn blasted Doug Hampton for linking him to the scandal:
“John Ensign hasn’t put me in a tough position at all,” said Coburn, a housemate of Ensign’s at a Capitol Hill home owned by a Christian fellowship. “The person that’s deceiving now is Doug. And you all need to go do the investigation now on that side of it and quit asking us and ask what’s the motivation here.”
Senator Tom Coburn
Coburn was responding to a televised interview Doug Hampton gave to a Nevada television station in which he went into detail about the Ensign’s affair with his wife, which reportedly started in December 2007 and ended in August 2008. Hampton, a former close friend of Ensign’s and chief of staff to the senator, said that Coburn and other peers were involved in talks to urge Ensign to pay Hampton for the damage he caused his family – including potentially giving him “millions” of dollars.
–Also today, Coburn nonsensically claimed he was protected from ever telling anybody anything about his part in the scandal:
Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) on Thursday said he would not testify in court or before the Ethics Committee about any advice he gave Sen. John Ensign (R-Nev.) on how to handle his affair with a former staffer, citing constitutional protections for communications during religious counseling, as well as the patient confidentiality privilege.
“I was counseling him as a physician and as an ordained deacon. … That is privileged communication that I will never reveal to anybody. Not to the Ethics Committee, not to a court of law, not to anybody,” Coburn said.
Coburn, incidentally, is an Obstetrician/Gynecologist.
–Also today, finally, Roll Call (‘The Newspaper of Capitol Hill’) reported that the parents of Senator Ensign paid the Hamptons eight sums of $12,000.
Sen. John Ensign (R-Nev.) Thursday acknowledged that his family made nearly $100,000 in payments to family members of his former mistress after her husband, a longtime aide and personal friend, discovered the relationship.
Since Ensign admitted his affair with former campaign staffer Cynthia Hampton, he has repeatedly declined to comment about whether he made any payments to her, her husband, Doug, or other members of the family.
Ensigns, left, Hamptons, right
But in a statement released by his attorney Thursday afternoon, Ensign for the first time acknowledged that in April 2008, his family — backed by his father’s casino and land development empire — made a series of payments to both Hamptons and their children, totaling $96,000.
“In April 2008, Senator John Ensign’s parents each made gifts to Doug Hampton, Cindy Hampton, and two of their children in the form of a check totaling $96,000. Each gift was limited to $12,000. The payments were made as gifts, accepted as gifts and complied with tax rules governing gifts. After the Senator told his parents about the affair, his parents decided to make the gifts out of concern for the well-being of long-time family friends during a difficult time. The gifts are consistent with a pattern of generosity by the Ensign family to the Hamptons and others,” Ensign’s lawyer Paul Coggins said in a statement.
Your public servants, in action. Unbelievable. I need a shower.