October 6th, 2009
06:42 PM ET
13 years ago

Ensign says he did not breach ethics rules

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Embattled Republican Sen. John Ensign told CNN Tuesday he did not break Senate ethics rules by helping to secure a lobbying job for the husband of the woman he had an affair with.

"I think it's pretty clear. I said in the past, I recommended him for jobs just like I've recommended a lot of people," Ensign told CNN senior congressional correspondent Dana Bash and congressional producer Ted Barrett. "But we absolutely did nothing except for comply exactly with what the ethics laws and the ethics rules of the Senate state. We were very careful in everything that we did. You can see our statements on that."

The comments come four days after The New York Times reported the husband of the woman Ensign had a affair with, Doug Hampton, has since lobbied the Nevada senator on behalf of his clients. The New York Times also reported evidence that suggests Ensign played an active role in getting Hampton the lobbying position. Hampton, a former senior aide to Ensign, is barred by congressional ethics rules from lobbying his old boss for one year after leaving his post in the Senate.

A preliminary Senate ethics investigation has been launched.

"All of these things will, you know, come out," Ensign told CNN. "All of these things will come out at their due time. But there's no question, we complied with all of the ethics."

Asked if he has any plans to resign his seat, Ensign said only: "I am focused on doing my work. I'm going to continue to focus on doing my work."

Ensign spoke with CNN as he walked from his office in the Russell Senate Office Building to the Capitol.

Filed under: John Ensign • Popular Posts
soundoff (82 Responses)
  1. Randolph Carter, the real enemy of humanity

    Another Randroid always acting out of blatant self-interest. In other words, typical politician. Have a nice day!

    October 6, 2009 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  2. GI Joe

    He's not doing his job. He's marching lock-step with his C-Street cronies to get all he can for corporate america and put the screws to the little people.

    He needs to go – just like a lot of the other congressional members need to go. If they vote against OUR needs in favor of corporations, they need to go.

    October 6, 2009 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  3. Jay T.

    Whose seat is more in jeopardy? This guy's or Reid's. Reid has a tough fight on his hand; this guy is done.

    October 6, 2009 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  4. Maria - Proud Democrat

    The Ethics Commission should look into Ensign and let's hope they will finally do something about the ethics problems surrounding CHARLIE RANGEL as well.....the Ethics commission has done a terrible job at holding Mr. Rangel accountable.

    October 6, 2009 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  5. LoLo

    Why not, because his parents paid them off for him. Give me a break.

    October 6, 2009 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  6. MT

    I tend to the conservative side, I have voted Republican more than Democrat, HOWEVER He needs to be forcibly removed from office and his compensation returned for ALL salaries/compensation from the time of his "helping secure the lobbying job" to present. He should also be barred from any elected office or any lobbying position himself.


    October 6, 2009 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  7. Ruty

    Oh yeah, Mr. Ensign, the moon is made of cheese. I don't believe that either.

    October 6, 2009 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  8. Reagan was wrong

    This guy's been lying for years, he's probably lying now.

    October 6, 2009 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  9. ian in Boulder CO

    Of course not. There is a different set of ethics rules that applies here. After all, Sen. Ensign was appointed by God to rule over us peons. Isn't that the official credo of the quasi-religious cult of which Sen. Ensign is a member, along with Gov. Sanford et al?

    October 6, 2009 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  10. Jersey Joe

    He apologized, now lets move on.

    October 6, 2009 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  11. Jay

    My daughter spent three weeks in Washington at a conference where she had to interface with members of our house of representatives and and our Senate. My advice to her was to never go anywhere in the congress building without a friend close by and my biggest concern for her safety when she was down there was the members of the house and senate. A higher than normal percentage of these people are grossly perverse and frankly the Democratic Party and the Republican Party should be outlawed and a multiple party system of government should take effect. They no longer compromise, they are perverts, and they cannot govern. Maybe if there were more than two parties something would be done about their callous disregard for everyone but themselves.

    October 6, 2009 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  12. DJ

    What a sleazebag. These lobbying rules are so sheisty as well....so many of these slimeballs quit after a few years and go work as lobbyists regardless. This guy is a greedy vulture and has no business working in public office.

    October 6, 2009 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  13. Fred the Moderate

    Really, didn't breach the rules-huh? Is that because you have no rules Ensign? Handing contracts to positioned people is a rules violation especially when its a hand pick former staffer turned lobbist you're paying off. Not to mention a new high paying position for his wife, your mistress. Let's not forget the payoff through your mother and father to these extortionists.

    Wow, how do you stay in office? Your constituance must be furious ......or......maybe they don't really care?

    So what happened to the family values flag you've been waving to get elected, that a joke too?

    You guys are the ones who should be put out of office. Let someone descent help the people of this country. You are just for one person......YOU.

    By the way, where is your wife and family in all this?

    October 6, 2009 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  14. ch

    He needs to resign – not because of adultery but because of a much worse sin – HYPOCRICY!

    Remember how this clown wanted Clinton impeached?

    When will the republicans ever learn? It’s not the adultery – it’s the HYPOCRICY!

    STOP holding others (the ones who don’t agree with your agenda) to a higher set of standards than you hold yourselves.

    October 6, 2009 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  15. vic bullard

    this guy is another lieing piece of crap..typical Republican..do as I say..not as I do..looser!!!

    October 6, 2009 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  16. tom in nc

    Ensign broke ethics rules, morale rules and legal rules.He think that he is above the rules and must be smack down.

    October 6, 2009 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  17. awaitingmoderationby CNN

    Why do I get a bad feeling that this is like saying that illegal aliens won't be covered by health care reform. But I guess it is okay to call him a liar. The libs won't leap to his defense and call us names will they? That is because they are such hypocrites.

    October 6, 2009 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  18. Andi

    of course, his affair was 'legal'. I'm surprised he didn't invoke Clinton, again.

    October 6, 2009 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  19. Gasman

    Actually, it appears to be pretty clear that Sen. Ensign did violate ethics rules when trying to get Doug Hampton a job as a lobbyist. The rules are quite clear that Hampton should not have had such a job for at least one year after leaving Ensign's staff.

    Ensign was more concerned with extricating himself from a sordid and messy sexual affair with a longtime friend and staffer. He had already made an illegal payoff to his ex-mistress. The last thing he was worried about was being ethical.

    October 6, 2009 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  20. Sharon

    OH YES YOU DID. Ethics not only belong to Democrats but Repubs too. Just look how vicious the Repubs were when Clinton had a mistress! Ensign should be treated under the same standard. He either needs to resign or be impeached from office. Same of lying standard.......Do what I say, not what I do!!!

    October 6, 2009 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  21. Tulsa

    "just like i've recommended a lot of people"

    So you've been having affairs with the wives of all the people you've recommended?

    Buddy, you weren't THAT careful. You were caught. and mommy and daddy bailed your sorry butt out. Oh yeah, you're Senate material alright.

    lol..... liar liar....

    October 6, 2009 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  22. zago

    What he means by that is if he were to have sex with that Married Woman again and ask Sen Coburn to negotiate a 2 million dollars settlement with that lady's husband, he would do it again. He cant be held accountable for that. This is not a violation. Has he violated or robbed something, it's for the lady's husband who he agreed to pay 2 million. Not for the senate or for the American people

    October 6, 2009 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  23. Kel

    Of course he's gonna say that. Is this really news? Is anyone surprised by this?

    October 6, 2009 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  24. rr

    no investigation of Rangel, Murtha, Frank, or Dodd, but one of Ensign?

    Democrats must be in charge!

    October 6, 2009 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  25. Retired Fed Employee

    When I was a federal employee we were admonished about even giving the "impression on Impropriety." Shouldn't the same apply to Congress?

    October 6, 2009 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
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