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Ensign continues to drag GOP down

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By Michelle Malkin  •  July 9, 2009 06:03 PM

I called him a wretched dog last month, and he continues to live up (er, down) to the label.

We now know that Nevada Republican Sen. John Ensign enlisted his parents to pay off his mistress/former campaign staffer and her husband/former intimate family friend/Senate employee to the tune of $96,000. Yeah, he bollixed up his own mom and dad in the scandal. Loser.

Gift. Severance. Whatever you call it, it was hush money. It didn’t work. And Ensign’s former lover’s husband is enjoying the fruits of blabbing publicly about the lurid affair and the attempted cover-up.

Ensign’s adultery hurt his wife and kids, his mistress and her husband’s kids, his state, his party, and the Senate GOP leadership.

Now, one of the Senate’s best and most upstanding members, Tom Coburn, is getting dragged through the mud:

Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) on Thursday issued a blistering attack on Doug Hampton, the husband of Sen. John Ensign’s (R-Nev.) mistress, saying that he had provided false information about paying off Hampton after Ensign revealed he was having an affair with his wife.

“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.”

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.

…But on Thursday, Coburn said: “He is in error, and he’s manipulating the situation and you are all buying it.”

“I was never present when a letter was written, never made any assessment of paying anybody anything. Those are untruths. Those are absolute untruths.”

…“Dr. Coburn did everything he could to encourage Sen. Ensign to end his affair and to persuade Sen. Ensign to repair the damage he had caused to his own marriage and the Hampton’s marriage,” Coburn’s office said in a remarkable public rebuke of his friend and fellow Christian conservative. “Had Sen. Ensign followed Dr. Coburn’s advice, this episode would have ended, and been made public, long ago.”

Once again, Ensign shows his lack of forthrightness with his constituents and party. Why did he wait to disclose the payments? Is he going to leave Sen. Coburn twisting in the wind? Now, Ensign faces a possible ethics probe.

What more will seep out?

Who else will be dragged down in the process?

How long will he subject the GOP to humiliation?

Republicans can’t combat their political foes’ culture of corruption unless and until they clean up their own.

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Posted in: Corruption,GOP

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