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John Ensign Scandal: Federal Investigators On Candid Camera

A local news crew has been taping investigators as they look into the John Ensign scandal:

Last month, we reported that criminal investigators from the Department of Justice were in Las Vegas talking to potential witnesses. This week, at least two attorneys for the Senate Ethics Committee were camped out at a hotel near the Strip where they interviewed a string of witnesses whose testimony could mean the end of John Ensign’s political career.

What they didn’t know is that the I-Team was watching the whole thing go down.

The attorney for Doug and Cindy Hampton, the former staffers for Ensign, one with whom he had an affair and the other who he paid off and tried to get a job for when that affair was discovered, met with the investigators. So did several business executives and political types, all of whom may have been in touch with Hampton about hiring him, at Ensign’s request. The story concludes:

For the Ethics Committee to spend an entire week on the ground in Las Vegas, hearing for themselves the stories — how Ensign tried to find work for Hampton, how he used the same meetings to solicit campaign donations while also offering to help Nevada companies to secure contracts in Washington — is a strong suggestion the committee is deadly serious about the scandal.

“That they are moving quickly in the Senate Ethics Committee, that they are advancing the investigation, and this is very bad news for Senator Ensign because they seem to be focusing more and more on his misconduct,” said Melanie Sloan with the Committee for Ethics and Responsibility [sic] in Washington.

It’s simply incredible that Ensign still has a job, not because of the adultery, but because of the clear corruption of his dealings. But I don’t know how much longer that will last, with investigators poking around like this.

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David Dayen

David Dayen