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. Farrell in Houston

    Deny, deny, deny because Ensign knows his Republican buddies accept his behavior. Proof of that is Mark Sanford is still hanging around and that thing David Vitter is up for reelection and he definitely should have been gone. Politicians have no ethics and I don't understand why people stand up for them and consider themselves "religious". Where is our moral compass?

    October 6, 2009 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  2. Silence DoGood

    Just hope Boxer, et al are looking into the ethics of Charlie Rangel and Christopher Doddas as well....

    October 6, 2009 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  3. Sniffit

    No matter how petty people want to behave about Letterman's daliances, he really did the right thing over the past couple weeks. He could've paid the blood money, but that's just piling on the wrong. He could've sat back and let the guy expose the whole thing, but that would have been cowardly and resulted in more damage to the people he had relations with. Instead, he manned up, went and handled it even though it meant admitting he was guilty of doing something most of us consider morally wrong...because it helped to protect everyone involved...then, he publicly apologized. You don't see that string of behavior often anymore...especially with the scumbags we keep electing to office. The public appears to be accepting Letterman's apologies as sincere because he acted like it was from the get-go.

    October 6, 2009 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  4. Chipster

    Since Sen. Ensign demanded Clinton's resignation for his sexual escapades, can we anticipate Ensign's resignation soon? These morally outraged right-wingers seem to have a different standard for their own morals.

    None of us are perfect. Anyone can have human frailties but, if we learn that he traded a lucrative lobbying position for the husband in exchange for sexual favors, he certainly should resign. Whether he resigns or not, his hypocrisy has been exposed.

    October 6, 2009 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  5. Pragmatic

    Kings used to do that ... find jobs for the husbands of women they were sleeping with ... Ensign thinks he's "ethical" – maybe – maybe not but he certainly is not "moral" ....

    October 6, 2009 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  6. mjm

    If only Rangle got this much attention.....

    This guy should know that only Obama can help out lobbyist. In fact, the entire health care reform debate is on behalf of the UAW. You can't get much bigger lobbyist than that.

    October 6, 2009 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  7. Donald in CA

    What a hypocrite. He is a rotten rich boy having parents who bail him out of his problems. This is typical of the hypocritical GOP. They HATE this and say NO to that, and on and on. They are the worst offenders of what bothers them the most.

    October 6, 2009 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  8. Crazy, Ignorant, Uneducated, Misinformed, Rightwing Nutjob

    We love you Jonm Ensign!

    October 6, 2009 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  9. johnathan

    No Mr. Ensign.

    I hear the state legislature is looking to establish "sainthood" upon thee for the shining example of ...

    Great decision making?

    that you have provided. Hmmmmm

    Now where's Vitter and Craig hiding this time?

    October 6, 2009 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  10. Terry B., Lexington, Ky

    "Ensign says he did not breach ethics rules"

    Yo, Loser, cheating on your wife is not a breach of "Ethics"???

    Oh, I am sorry I forgot, "ethics rules" in the United States Senate is a pipe dream... How stupid of me...

    October 6, 2009 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  11. Kathy

    How stupid does he think we all are? He is dirty plain and simple! Hipocracy is the worst sin of the GOP, always talking about their "holier than thou" moral values and then we find that it is all just talk to get votes. The closed minded religious right should hold them to account for their lies.

    October 6, 2009 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  12. Reformed Republican

    HEY Nevada...

    This C Street evangelical elitist is scum. He's embarassed your state by jumping his staffer who was his friends wife, paid them off with mommy's money and now acts as though nothing happened.

    Do the patriotic thing NV – Dump this chump for the good of your state and your nation and put him on trial for breaking the laws of this country that he swore to uphold...

    October 6, 2009 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  13. Steve (the real one)

    No Sir, You did not break the law and maybe you didn't even break Senate ethics rules (no higher standards for you!). What you did break is your wife's heart , the hearts of your family members, trust with the people your were elected to represent, your marriage vows, and common morals! In short you statement concerning you not breaking ethics rules falls short and is a cop out!

    October 6, 2009 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  14. Bananarama Victim

    Ensign is a loser... so is anyone who supports him.

    October 6, 2009 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  15. Sen. John Ensign

    I, John Ensign, did NOTHING wrong and you folks can't touch me because I am above all rules and laws. After all, I'm a U.S. Senator. Go pick on someone else...like David Letterman (he's probably a Democrat so he deserved to be criticized, but I'm a God-fearing, Jesus-loving, family values conservative.

    October 6, 2009 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  16. victim of republican greed

    If the timelines for legal activity have not been adhered to, then Sen. Ensign did breach ethics rules. It has been reported that this happened in less than the required year. Hampton is not helping Ensign's case for innocence.

    October 6, 2009 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  17. B

    It seems that there is absolutely NO accountability for anyone in this country now!

    October 6, 2009 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  18. Barbara Independent in NY

    This guy is a colossal hypocrite.

    October 6, 2009 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  19. yuri

    But we heard from the reports that he had an affair w/ the wife of his own staff. If that is not ethic violation, what is?

    October 6, 2009 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  20. Donkey Party

    You lie!!!

    October 6, 2009 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  21. victim of republican greed

    Why is it that the republicans continue to violate laws and ethics, and when they get caught, they think they are being picked on like a little child? Sen. DeMint went to Honduras to meet with the leaders of a military coup, that ousted the democratically elected president. That is a violation of federal law, and borders treason. Rep. Kirk from IL, went to China to trash America. Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity, Fox, Limbaugh, and countless conservative organizations, rejoiced when America did not get the Olympics. Ten months ago, they would have considered that Unamerican.

    Republicans are better than that, but right wingnuts, not so much.

    October 6, 2009 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  22. Perusing-through

    JOHN ENSIGN MAY or MAY NOT HAVE BROKEN CONGRESSIONAL RULES . . . but he absolutely has destroyed the code of honor and integrity for a high ranking public servant and Nevada U.S. Senator representing 2.6-million citizens. It does not matter which political party he belongs, Ensign needs to resign to salvage the integrity of the U.S. Senate.

    October 6, 2009 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  23. Hugo

    This is killing me as usual! Chris Dodd, head of banking oversight regulating mortgage loans gets a "sweetheart" deal from the carpet baggers at Nation Wide that helped destroy our economy, Charlie Rangle, is sitting atop millions of dollars accumulated while on the Government payroll and he is the chair for the oversight committee that oversees IRS tax code, he "forgot" to pay his taxes on how much? Meanwhile the Democrat lead congress wants to go after someone who has an adulturous affair, NOT with an Intern but with another consenting adult?

    Our Congress has lost it's mind at our expense! Do your freaking job and make some jobs you bunch of slobbering idiots!

    October 6, 2009 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  24. No More Republicant's Needed

    Watch the posts now from all of the Republicant's down-playing this and then compare to their posts on the story about David Letterman. In their eyes it seems Dave is part of the "axis of evil", but I'm sure they"ll rush to Ensign's defense:

    "This is just a conspiracy conjured up by Democrats, (spear-headed by ACORN, probably), to divert attention from Obama's socialist take over of the country!!!!"

    October 6, 2009 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  25. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    Liar Liar Pants on fire. The cover up is worst than the actual crime.

    October 6, 2009 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
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