July 9th, 2009
04:17 PM ET
13 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. carlo

    Oh, its a family affair!

    July 9, 2009 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  2. dmjakers

    if you give somebody $96,000 you have to pay taxes, and if you split up the payments into smaller amounts to avoid tax liability, that's a series of felonies.

    July 9, 2009 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  3. Frank, Las Vegas

    Ensign is a Hypocrite and should resign, just like he told others to do. This guy is a first class slime ball. I'm ashamed that he is one of my Senators. He doesn't represent the people of NV at all, he's always been just out for himself and the republican party. I wish NV had a recall law. Ensign, please please RESIGN.

    July 9, 2009 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  4. Sherrol in Canada

    Sounds like blackmail or hush money to me..........

    .....................and so the plot thickens!!!!!

    July 9, 2009 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  5. JonDie

    Bribery, a federal offense carrying a penalty of hard time in prison.

    Oh wait, this is a US senator, the law doesn't apply to Ensign.

    July 9, 2009 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  6. Real is Real

    Must be nice being a republican. You get to throw away any and all morals. You get to be two faced and hypocritical. You get to do nothing ever, but whine and complain and have affairs.

    The republicans represent ALL that is wrong with our country. We need to replace them for GOOD and for EVER!

    July 9, 2009 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  7. ghost

    Still sounds like hush money to me.

    July 9, 2009 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  8. Steph

    Sleeping with someone and accepting financial gifts....isn't that prostitution? What makes this worse is that this grown man's parents are involved in paying his prostitutes.

    Is this what all of you mean by family values?

    July 9, 2009 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  9. GI Joe

    Not to mention the doubled salary, her husband's salary, and their 19 year old son being hired (with republican money) as some sort of expert.


    July 9, 2009 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  10. citizenjane

    Wow. . .thinking of quitting yet, Ensign. I would.

    July 9, 2009 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  11. Jeff in Virginia

    The hypocrasy, it burns!!

    I am not mad at Ensign for having an affair. That's his business.

    I am mad at Ensign because he is a hypocrite who has used "family values" as a political weapon for his own gain.

    July 9, 2009 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  12. Vic

    Thank you Senator Ensign, this is a gift that just keeps on giving.

    Wow, and you are part of the MORALS police?

    July 9, 2009 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  13. Frank

    Could the Senators parents afford to give this type of money? Sounds like a payoff to me.

    July 9, 2009 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  14. Terry

    Sounds legal to me. This is a private family issue. Who you sleep with does not reflect on your ability to serve elective office.

    Ensign is unqualified for public service because he is a Conservative. American Conservatism is the greatest threat to the future of our republic at this time.

    If Sen. Ensign spent more time with his lovers less time in Washington, the world would be a better place.

    July 9, 2009 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  15. Barb

    Wow! Haven't we just heard it all. Parents supporting their adulterer son's mistress's family with gifts of money?

    And I bet they are good Christians too! Lol. Well, the GOP can certainly be proud. And when the kids ask where they got all the money, will they tell them it was for a job well done? Such hypocrites!

    July 9, 2009 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  16. You had your window Repubs, and you blew it!

    This is great, most of my TV shows don't come back till the fall and I love a good drama.

    Thanks Republicans, for providing entertainment that no reality show can match.

    New slogan: Must see GOP!

    July 9, 2009 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  17. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    He needs to resign NOW! The affair is one thing, but now it's becoming unethical with payments being made to members of the Hampton family. Is this hush money? The Senate Ethics Committee needs to investigate Sen. Ensign and Sen. Coburn.

    July 9, 2009 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  18. Mike in Oahu

    Hush money.

    July 9, 2009 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  19. cowboy

    would have been cheaper to pick one up off the street,,, lol

    July 9, 2009 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  20. Carole

    So, if i become Senator Ensign's friend, I can get paid too?$$$$ LOL

    These Republicans are shameless. They are not even good at having a 'discreet' affair.

    July 9, 2009 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  21. Mike Dallas

    I guess we know now the neo-con's "christian" answer to WWJD?

    He would choose OPP!

    July 9, 2009 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  22. GOP = Party of Hypocrites

    The revelations of hypocrisy keep coming and Repugs continue to embrance the likes of Ensign, Sanford and Vitter as members of their party after bashing opponents for years with their Holier-than-thou "family values" platform. Bill Clinton, who they villified, is a saint compared to these dirty weasels.

    July 9, 2009 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  23. Fla.

    This is so old school, right Steele? LOL

    And GOP, please stop lying to the America people, that Ensign somehow complied with ethics. Who believes this nonsense?

    Ensign funneled money towards this indiscretion through his Chairmanship of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, his campaign donations, and now his parents? Unbelievably unethical.

    July 9, 2009 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  24. Wes

    I assume Liberty College going to kick the Republican Club off campus too?

    July 9, 2009 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  25. B.H.

    I have been around for a while and can’t remember a time when the GOP was- so filled- with so many reprehensible immoral fools!

    July 9, 2009 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
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