July 9th, 2009
04:17 PM ET
14 years ago

Statement: Senator's parents 'made gifts' to mistress's family

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/07/09/art.ensignfrown0709.gi.jpg caption="A statement from a lawyer for Sen. John Ensign said that the senator's parents made payments totalling $96,000 to the family of Ensign's former mistress."]
WASHINGTON (CNN) – The parents of Sen. John Ensign gave a total of $96,000 to the family of Cynthia Hampton, a woman with whom the Nevada Republican had carried on an extra-marital affair, according to a statement issued Wednesday by the Nevada senator's attorney.

"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," said Paul Coggins of Fish & Richardson, who is representing Ensign. "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.

None of the gifts came from campaign or official funds nor were they related to any campaign or official duties. Senator Ensign has complied with all applicable laws and Senate ethics rules."

The revelation comes one day after Doug Hampton, the husband of Ensign's former mistress, told Las Vegas Sun columnist Jon Ralston that Ensign paid Cynthia Hampton, who was also an employee of Ensign's political action committee and re-election campaign, more than $25,000 in severance when she stopped working for Ensign's political operation.


Related: Report: Senator tried to stop colleague's affair
Related: I will never reveal what I told Ensign, Colburn says

Filed under: John Ensign
soundoff (117 Responses)
  1. DawnL,CA

    Soooooo-his parents are enablers. Who have they paid off in the past for this low-life? Time to stand on your own two-feet Ensign. Stop whining to mommy & daddy to help you. Nothing is going to help you now.

    July 9, 2009 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  2. macmom

    so sean....

    i agree we are all human, but many of these politicians are preaching "their version of family values" and can't live up to their own SELF SET STANDARDS!? i frankly couldn't care less which party he represents, what offends me most is that there are people who are out of work right now struggling to pay their bills and this spoiled little snits mommy and daddy are paying "fu..n" money to cover his filthy wealthy tracks.

    July 9, 2009 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  3. Snake Plissken

    Just like the great Republican Larry Craig, I take a Wide Stance on this story.

    It's not that guys like Sanford, Ensign and Craig had affairs out of office, some of them even with the opposite sex.
    It's that they stood up in the Pulpit and condemned others and demanded their resignation while they're doing the same thing.

    The Republicans aren't the party of "Family Values". They're the party of stone throwing HYPOCRITES!

    July 9, 2009 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  4. Independent_me

    Do unto others as you would have others do unto you...
    The Repugs are getting what they did to Clinton in spades!

    Yes, Virginia, there is a God!

    July 9, 2009 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  5. fet up

    The "big deal" William is that you have another republican 'better than tho' senator preaching to everyone else on how they should live and abide by morals and 'good ol southern conservative" values (which is a joke!) and points the finger at everyone else and does EXACTLY the opposite himself! how dare he! This is typical republican hypocracy! and of course you'll sit there and say you've seen dems do the same thing...well the difference is more than likely, you don't have democrats PREACHING to everyone else how they should live their lives in such 'high morale standards" and turn around and do the opposite! I personally don't care about the infedility..however, what i don't care for is all this type of sneakiness....which only tells me this guy and his family are a bunch of liars and have gone around thinking their untouchable and better than everyone else!

    July 9, 2009 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  6. NVa Native

    The issue is hypocricy. Lies and deceptions are all the republican party is good at.
    Ensign gets himself elected under the guise that he is "moral" and he claims to have "family values". Is adultery with an adulterous employee, and then his paying this woman and her kids almost $100K in small enough sums that money is basically laundred and therefore legal, is all this Republican "family values"?.
    Why isn't the "holly than thou" Republican Party in an up roar about all this – because they are false. This is what they call "fair & balanced". or "country first".
    All the Repubs care about is power and money – disgusting.

    July 9, 2009 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  7. johnnie

    as i say every day ,it is more about the gop,and there will be an effort made gop by the gop to bring up a former president or (john edwards) to whinn ,what about them.john esign stood on the platform of morals and showed he could be a sinner like we all are sometimes. so be carfull what you stand for ,and what you do. the gop is a daily soap opera. the day of our wifves, and replubicans and the restless.he paid wow ,whats new.

    July 9, 2009 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  8. Steve in Denver

    William: Please go read something. The VAST majority have cheated? The surveys I have read say that between 25% and 50% of married males cheat, between 10% and 25% of married females cheat. Been married twice, never cheated on either.

    Not that I would judge another if they had a moral failing. That is, of course, unless they made other people's infidelity some of their business. Perhaps by impeaching a president for a fling?

    These two may, at least, be somewhat better than Newt. At least they don't appear to have been cheating on their spouse WHILE impeaching Clinton for his misdeeds.

    Of course, getting your parents to pay hush money to the woman might put ensign in that lowest of the low category, right next to Newt. I just can't imagine telling my father or mother that I cheated on my wife, let alone ask them to participate in the payoff.

    It takes a special type of slime to be this low!

    July 9, 2009 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  9. rachel

    And to think fox and their rightwing anchors accused Hillary of Pimping out Chelsea last year now really really know who the pimps are. I think this is the new republican plan to stimulate the economy come on yall its the oldest profession in the book.

    July 9, 2009 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  10. Dawn

    John Ensign should resign. The most disgusing thing about him is the fact that he is a hippocrit. He's not worthy of our trust and obviously will never have it again. I feel sorry for any family that has to be put through. He can never make up to them what he has destroyed.

    July 9, 2009 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  11. Wolfen

    Actually, dmjakers, you don't have to pay taxes on all receipts of money.

    Everyone is entitled to give gifts to family or friends. You can give someone up to $12,000 a year (at this time) and neither person must pay taxes on the money. But only if it is a gift, rather than compensation for services rendered. IN this case, Mom & Dad ($24,000 combined) gave to mistress, husband and two kids ($24K x 4) for a total of $96,000.

    Whether it is hush money or a bribe MAY make the payments fall outside the gift exemption, but that's a fine line.

    July 9, 2009 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  12. I laugh at comrade Limbaugh daily

    Sure he wasnt appointed by the teflon Don?He looks like a mafia crook.Making payoffs maybe?

    July 9, 2009 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  13. John

    I see a lot of Libs on here saying that the problem is the hypocrisy, not the infidelity. This is the thing that disgusts me about the direction the Dems are being taken by the Libs.

    Hahaha. Mike you are so wrong I don't know where to begin. Dems nor Libs have never said infidelity is ok. We don't beleive cheating on ones spouse is acceptable at all. But, we also don't stand up and preach to others abpout our values being far greater because we're Democrats. The Republicans can't say the same thing. Just ask every Repub that railed against Clinton. They'll tell you I'm sure

    Whats different now is more people are wise to these Republican creatins and their methods and it will be years before they can wash that stench off.

    July 9, 2009 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  14. nom deplume

    Interesting how the cuckolded hubby wanted "assistance" and later the senator's parents pay amounts calculated to not trigger gift tax.
    Sounds like a shakedown to me. Nice husband, that Doug. Gets to cash in on his wife's dalliance.

    BTW, dmjakers is incorrect. You are allowed to make gifts in that fashion. He is confusing that with structuring, which is making small transfers or payments to avoid currency transaction reporting. This isn't covered under the structuring statute, and in any event, it isn't the payor that pays the tax.

    July 9, 2009 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  15. Doug

    Doug Hampton, the spouse, also worked for the Senator and took taxpayer pffice funds of over $ 15,000. a month. This needs to be investigated and the Senator needs to be removed from office. These people are sickening. His parents owed them money....what?

    July 9, 2009 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  16. Keeth in California

    The plot thickens and the hypocrisy grows!

    July 9, 2009 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  17. GOP = 21st century dodo

    Can you imagine if Clinton's mom had given money to Monica Lewinski?

    July 9, 2009 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
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