July 8th, 2009
10:31 PM ET
12 years ago

Report: Senator tried to stop colleague's affair

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/07/08/art.ensignsad0708.gi.jpg caption="The husband of Sen. John Ensign's former mistress says another senator tried to intervene to stop Ensign's extra-marital affair, the Las Vegas Sun reported."]
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn was part of a group of Washington-based intermediaries that confronted fellow Sen. John Ensign in an effort to convince him to end an extra-marital affair, according to a report published on the Web site of the Las Vegas Sun.

Doug Hampton, the husband of Ensign’s former mistress, spoke publicly for the first time about the affair in an on-camera interview with Las Vegas Sun columnist Jon Ralston to be broadcast on his show on LasVegasOne.

Doug Hampton worked in Ensign’s Senate office, while his wife, Cynthia, was an employee of Ensign’s political action committee and reelection campaign.

In an effort to try to end the affair, Hampton told Ralston he reached out to a group of “intermediaries involved in a Christian fellowship home in Washington, D.C.,” the Sun reported. The group “confronted Ensign and suggested that the Hamptons needed to be given financial assistance – in the millions of dollars – to pay off their $1 million-plus mortgage and move them to a new life away from Ensign,” according to the Sun’s report.

In a statement given to CNN and the Sun, Coburn spokesman Jon Hart said the Oklahoma Republican tried to intercede to put an end to the affair.

“Dr. Coburn did everything he could to encourage Senator Ensign to end his affair and to persuade Senator Ensign to repair the damage he had caused to his own marriage and the Hampton’s marriage,” Hart said in the statement. “Had Senator Ensign followed Dr. Coburn’s advice, this episode would have ended, and been made public, long ago.”

When he was confronted, Ensign agreed to write a letter to Cynthia Hampton that expressed remorse for his behavior, the Sun reported.

Doug Hampton also told Ralston that he discovered the affair through an incriminating text message; that even after Hampton confronted Ensign, the Nevada Republican continued to pursue Hampton’s wife with text messages and phone calls; and that Ensign paid Cynthia Hampton more than $25,000 in severance after she stopped working for him. 

Sen. Ensign’s office has not responded to CNN’s request for comment about the Sun report.

Filed under: John Ensign • Popular Posts • Tom Coburn
soundoff (53 Responses)
  1. AJ

    Ensign was a "promise Keeper" you know the guys who want their wives barefoot and pregnant. I guess he couldn't keep his "promise" !Another "family values" GOP hyprocrite!

    July 8, 2009 10:51 pm at 10:51 pm |
  2. James

    So the "Christian Fellowship" suggested a payoff? I love it.

    July 8, 2009 10:51 pm at 10:51 pm |
  3. Susan

    Let's get the grammar right! When we refer to people, use who. When referring to animals, objects, or groups such as a tribe, use that. ". . .was part of a group of intermediaries that confronted". . . .
    Should be: who confronted.

    July 8, 2009 10:53 pm at 10:53 pm |
  4. Keith in Austin

    Too bad John Edwards didn't have any political friends to help him from having an affair while his wife was fighting cancer.

    July 8, 2009 10:57 pm at 10:57 pm |
  5. Molly Weasley

    This is really more information than I need to know about this tawdry business. But I suppose Pandora's box has been opened (ever since Ken Starr's report on Clinton), and we're going to be subjected to every sleazy detail of every politician's affair, of whichever party. Yuck.

    July 8, 2009 11:02 pm at 11:02 pm |
  6. DerekJ

    So, a "Christian" group suggests bribery as a means of stopping the affair? Nice.

    July 8, 2009 11:09 pm at 11:09 pm |
  7. turgic

    Hollow words from a man that was pointing the finger at Clinton but seems to think his dirty deeds are justified.

    July 8, 2009 11:12 pm at 11:12 pm |
  8. Alpha and Omega

    Anerica's family structure is slowly eroding.

    If you cannot honor the bonds of marriage, resign, divorce, and get off the front page. Y'all are using these women as a front for your same-sex fancies. Keep It Out of my face!

    The only reason the SC govenor is still sitting is because McMaster's is politicing for the hot seat, himself. Else, Sanford would be a goner,

    Personal agendas is a breach of service to the country and constituencies!

    America is on a slippery slope thanks to your blatant sinning.

    July 9, 2009 12:31 am at 12:31 am |
  9. Barb

    So this couple who worked for a Senator had a $1 million-plus mortgage? Something is really wrong here!

    Sure sounds more like blackmail! If Cynthia Hampton was a willing participant to the affair, why should she get a severance in excess of $25,000? And where or who did all that money come from? Was it a legal political expense?

    July 9, 2009 12:47 am at 12:47 am |
  10. Bill Sampson

    Umm, I have a suggestion. Why don't these silly senators try this: Mind your own personal business and spend your time working as senators, a position for which you are well compensated. Stop being the busy bodies for the entire nation, including your own goofy colleagues. Everybody should just mind their own personal business!

    But it does sound like some financial shenanigans took place here. That's a whole other matter. The "Christian fellowship" home (whatever goofy, contrived organization that is) suggested that Ensign's mistress get several million dollars to walk away quietly from the affair. Are you kidding me? Is this how the Holier-than-Thou bunch of conservative Christians end affairs amongst their own? They hand out millions of dollars? What a bunch of freaks.

    July 9, 2009 12:51 am at 12:51 am |
  11. The Closet Republican

    Ensign apparantly couldn't afford the asking price and so had to "confess"...

    Otherwise, it woulda been hushed up as usual. There were rumours about this scumbag before. Same with another "christian" family values phony, Gov. Sanford.

    Both these guys (along with Palin) were looking to run for president as white "family values" republicans.

    The snake Mitt Romney survives (and he's worse than these three!!!).

    July 9, 2009 12:57 am at 12:57 am |
  12. Limbaugh is a liberal

    Next up: Coburn admits to extramarital affair. Or at least in the last few years it was ALWAYS the most holier-than-thou people who turned out to be guilty of the same faults they found in others.

    July 9, 2009 01:28 am at 1:28 am |
  13. Sandra

    Do we really think that if this had happened:

    "Hamptons needed to be given financial assistance – in the millions of dollars – to pay off their $1 million-plus mortgage and move them to a new life away from Ensign"

    this would have followed:

    "this episode would have ended, and been made public, long ago..."

    I am shocked that politicians think paying off mortgages is fair play (do they use fundraised $ to do this) for their affairs. But I am not naive enough to believe they would make these secret deals public willingly.

    July 9, 2009 01:28 am at 1:28 am |
  14. Rita

    This man is a disgrace. Granted an affair is a two way street and maybe the movies , television and Hollywood seems to condone this behavior it is morally incorrect weather your a religious person or not. What I don't understand is why the GOP has remained silent and haven't called for him to step down. It can't be their all guilty of doing the same thing! If he were my elected official I would be screaming for his resignation!

    July 9, 2009 01:33 am at 1:33 am |
  15. Independent_me

    The Repugs fooled just about every well meaning Christian out there with their "family values" bull crap. Hod took the veil off and revealed their deception. They are evil.

    July 9, 2009 01:34 am at 1:34 am |
  16. Larry

    This is about as sleazy and perverse as it gets.

    And this shake-down was paid for by taxpayer money?

    July 9, 2009 01:37 am at 1:37 am |
  17. ck1

    Call me crazy, but to "suggest" that the mistress and her husband need financial assistance in the amount of millions of dollars sounds an aweful lot like extortion (read blackmail) to me. Sounds like they are asking him to "pay" for her services.

    July 9, 2009 02:00 am at 2:00 am |
  18. justin

    Bush sank us with 2 wars;


    They are a perfect pair. I h..e both of them.

    July 9, 2009 02:01 am at 2:01 am |
  19. Don in Lawrence, Kansas

    Sen Ensign should resign. It's that simple.

    July 9, 2009 02:19 am at 2:19 am |
  20. maripil

    Sen. Ensign should resign as this is a sword dangling over his head for while he is in office. It is a disgrace to have a sitting senator espousing family values while guilty of violating his own!!

    July 9, 2009 02:21 am at 2:21 am |
  21. stimulous Vs, stimulated

    Hey, he can have an affair with my wife, too, if he agrees to pay out "Millions of" dollars. The 25k he ended up doling out, in hush money, if way too much low-balling it. Any Senator who's so stingy so as to pay out only 25k, on the kind of money they make, DESERVES to be blackmailed.

    But, in all honesty, who really needs to demand hush money...what, with the stock market going up like the Energizer Bunny, like it has all year, You bet your bottom dollar it will be up on the end of the day Thursday and Friday. If you don't believe it, look at the swelling of Volume (demand) at the close today...there was a huge, I mean enormous, amount of Volume (demand) as the S&P 500 was going upward in the last hour of two of trading today. That can only mean ONE thing...that the next two days will be very strong Up days. You can count on it. With volume that strong, I've never in my 20 years of investing seen the markets close down the next two days!

    July 9, 2009 02:21 am at 2:21 am |
  22. dreamer

    HMM ,if they knew why didn't they tell his wife,I guess his seat in the house was more important to them.

    July 9, 2009 02:33 am at 2:33 am |
  23. AcidEatingLiberal

    INHOFF/PALIN 2012! Two conservatives who will stand up for the majority! Rock The Vote!

    July 9, 2009 02:55 am at 2:55 am |
  24. kaTERjr

    So Coburn's part of the coverup too? Is there no shame at all in Washington? This guy Coburn presents as a Christian....jeez!

    July 9, 2009 03:10 am at 3:10 am |
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