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. Larry

    Are these Hamptons convicted felons?

    They really know how to shake someone down. LOL

    July 9, 2009 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  2. Pete in DC

    I didn't really like Obama all that much until that took that picture of him and Sarkozy staring at that girl's butt. Ha ha. Maybe he's alright after all.

    July 9, 2009 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  3. Republicans is smart in the head area

    There there Johnny, Mommy will make it all better.

    July 9, 2009 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  4. Mitch

    Republican family value$$$ Awesome!

    July 9, 2009 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  5. Susan

    So, she is no longer a mistress... she got paid so what does that make her family? Pimps?

    July 9, 2009 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  6. RepublicanturnedDemocrat

    You have shamed us here in Nevada, Johnny.

    You will now lose your re-election bid.

    Go back to being a Veternarian. Continue your adultery in your personal office, not the office of the people.

    July 9, 2009 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  7. joaquin

    Severance? They call it "severance" now?

    July 9, 2009 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  8. Renee

    From earlier news reports, it sounds like the Hamptons were trying to milk this senator for all he was worth...to the tune of millions. Not that I'm sympathetic to overly-religious legislators. Still, it's disgusting to see Doug Hampton ruthlessly take advantage of the situation, probably all in the interest of carassing his frail and damaged ego.

    July 9, 2009 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  9. Unbelievable!

    Ah but we all forget that prostitution is legal in Nevada. Rest easy everyone, no laws were broken!

    July 9, 2009 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  10. The Marginalizer

    Give me a break!! How corrupt can one family get??? Ensign needs to resign now. This is totally unacceptable from anyone in any party.

    July 9, 2009 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  11. mypitts2

    This is great, b/c we definitely have not had our fill of disgusting details from recent high-profile affairs.

    OK, Mark Sanford, your turn.

    July 9, 2009 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  12. CaC

    Yeah, since you'd certainly never see a Democratic having an affair, you'd never see any of this behavior from them...would you now, Mr. Clinton?

    July 9, 2009 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  13. MaK

    We've heard of tons of politicians having affairs, Republican AND democrat. There's probably countless others we never found out about.

    Stop acting like this is a party issue. ALL politicians are unethical in one way or another.

    July 9, 2009 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  14. joefromMo

    Well, come on. The parents are probably really embarrassed by their son.

    July 9, 2009 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  15. Sarah

    How hilarious! He had his mommy and daddy pay off the family of his married girlfriend to keep the whole thing quiet. I love it. It is one of the best examples of someone keeping the letter of the law yet violating the spirit of the law, I've encountered. Money not well spent, I might add. How old do you have to be before your parents stop bailing you out, Senator?

    July 9, 2009 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  16. Joe

    It's one thing to cheat on your wife, which is bad enough, but to cheat on your wife while still claiming the moral high ground and then, on top of that, get your parent to try to pay her off to be quiet about the whole affair?

    This goes beyond Republican or Democrat. It is an affront to the institution of marriage amplified by a financial cover-up.

    At least Mark Sanford had the guts to admit his discretions. He didn't try to bribe anyone.

    July 9, 2009 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  17. HonestMistake

    I don't think this is a Republican or Democrat issue. It is a moral issue. Plenty of men in both parties, politicians and non-politicians, cheat on their wives. They give their mistresses money, houses and cars. Until we stopped labeling everything as R or D, this country will suffer.

    July 9, 2009 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  18. thnkb4uspk

    His parents must have been desperate to try to protect the family's star. MY parents would have said that I had shamed them and myself and that I would have to sink or swim on my own. He must have been bailed out by them before...again and again. That may be part of his problem.

    July 9, 2009 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  19. Drama in Real Life

    When Mark Sanford, John Ensign, Bill Clinton and John Edwards, LIED to their Wives- No Body died or Injured.

    When Bush and Cheney Lied about WMDs of Iraq.- 4,300 US Troops died – 45,000 US Troops got injured -100,000 Iraqis civilians died.

    We must Forgive John Ensign, if we have Forgiven Bush and Cheney.

    July 9, 2009 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  20. Eugene

    Oh, and Bill Clinton was good at discrete affairs...

    July 9, 2009 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  21. Mark

    Are you kidding me? The parents should be ashamed of themselves. What a great example. Just pay off the people who your son hurt. No wonder he's a hypocrite and has no morals. He obviously was raised that way.

    July 9, 2009 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  22. Jamie from Riverside

    Dirtbag! And his parents are enablers.

    July 9, 2009 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  23. Steve, Columbia SC

    You idiots that cry "shame on the Republicans" know better. Your demoncrat senators and representatives are not innocent of this kind of thing..........

    July 9, 2009 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  24. Vincent Petrosino

    The problem is not only ethics which have been violated here but hypocrisy too! Why was the woman's 19 year old son hired as a campaign staffer? How does this square with the GOP platform on family values? The GOP tried to impeach President Clinton on just the affair alone. Why are they silent NOW? You cannot have it both ways, Terry!

    July 9, 2009 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  25. steve

    CNN, a very misleading headline.
    That was what his attorney claimed after been busted with this sex- for -cash – Ensign scandal.
    Stop covering for this republicans Scumbags.
    Ensign should resign . Enough with hypocrites

    July 9, 2009 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
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