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. Husman

    "If this does not breach the ethics of the senate, tell me what does.Ensign had a relationship with the wife of his employee and had a job arranged to keep his mouth shut and get out of the way.That is very ethical...and here is a 'family value' man who wants Bill Clinton impeached for messing around an unmarried adult girl.(enough of the hypocracy...ahahahahah

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

    What a lying hypocrite. Mr. Money Bags, of course, tried to pay off his mistress and her family. Nothing like watching those old GOP family values at work. Coburn, his little compatriot in the coverup, should get his arse put in the wringer also.

    October 6, 2009 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  3. TK

    Bullcookies! This is the same slime-ball who wanted to impeach Clinton because he lied about sex. Now that he's in a worse boat (lying about sex, paying off his mistress, getting a job for the wronged-husband and illegally funneling work to him), he's all quiet and compliant with the lay.

    Where is his moral outrage at his own behavior, that same outrage that he feigned when Clinton was tried in the Senate! What a hypocrite. Can't wait for his humiliating loss when he runs for reelection!

    October 6, 2009 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  4. Jilli

    Sorry Mr. Ensign, it's a little difficult to believe a liar and a cheat.

    October 6, 2009 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  5. melody, Snohomish, wa

    It is obvious the laws were broken. And a big cover-up is in play. All involved need to resign.

    October 6, 2009 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  6. DJ in TX

    Another hyprocrit – wasn't he one of the ones also asking for President Clinton to resign for his scandal? Then he tried to justify it by saying his is "different" than President Clinton.

    October 6, 2009 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  7. Emmanuel Goldstein

    Maybe if he changes his party affiliation, it will get dropped. After all, you can have ethics violations and be a tax cheat if you are a democrat. Wonder why his attorney didn't suggest that get out of jail free card?

    October 6, 2009 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  8. victim of republican greed

    It looks like Letterman got caught in an Ensign type problem.

    October 6, 2009 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  9. normajean

    This man is such a low life that I can't understand why his party stands behind him. However, they being Republicans, maybe I can see why.

    October 6, 2009 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  10. Rob

    Nice how they storm after Ensign yet stall and delay when it comes to Rangel. But then again, that's the Dems for ya.

    October 6, 2009 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  11. N.Vazzana

    Senator Ensign has no shame or conscience. He answers serious questions with irrelevant denials. He's caught in a terrible scandal that he shall not be able to dismiss.

    October 6, 2009 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  12. Fed up with the FED

    Here we have 12+% unemployment, no hope of job recovery for at least 5 years, wars in two countries without a decisive Leader to take control and lead our Nation to any type of victory and what is our illustrious Congress and President doing other than trying to figure out how to stick the middle class with some additional taxes to pay for those among us that won't or can't? Lets spend some more time and effort to investigate some putz that can't keep his doinker in his pants! VOTE THEM ALL OUT IN 2010 AND 2012, Call it a homogeneous cleansing of the House of COLON!

    October 6, 2009 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  13. Deb

    Amazing how there is supposed to be separation of church and state . Yet the Republicans spout holier than thou and when caught they deny any wrong doing.

    October 6, 2009 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  14. AstroTurf This

    It's amazing to me. All the horrible things that are happening and the liberal news media just tries to zing the Republicans. Charlie Rangel is a crook and criminal heading the Finance Committee and not being challenged one bit....but heaven forbid they turn their attention to something truly illegal and not attack the Republicans.

    The networks and CNN wonder why their ratings are in the tank? There goes your answer. You are too concerned with political ideology and not concerned enough to do your job.

    October 6, 2009 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  15. D. Tree

    In other words, Ensign's defense is "this is normal for me, I go this all the time?"

    So how many other people has he inappropriately used his influence for?

    October 6, 2009 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  16. John

    As if the Ethics Rules weren't already as low as can be. Has anyone bothered to read the Ethics Rules? It's shameful. Senators are basically allowed to take bribes... I meant campaign contributions AFTER a vote but not before.

    Note to Future Senators: Make sure you collect your bribes afterwards; not before. And if it before, let some time pass before taking the action you were paid for. Come on guys, don't make it so obvious.

    They should have "Introduction to the Senate System 101" for Senators. Maybe they just get tired of all the bureacracy over the years and start taking bribes and exercising their influence at their own discretion rather than within the bounds of the "Ethics" Rules.

    Please, spare me your excuses. You're given the right to accept bribes and still can't do it following the rules, haha.

    October 6, 2009 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  17. Bob Pacific Grove, Ca

    LOL!!! Just what did you expect this "family values" republican to say??....Its absolutely hilarious!!

    October 6, 2009 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  18. Amy Hass

    There are plenty of Republicans, (Ensign, Sanford, Craig, Foley, Vitter) who have created sexual scandals for themselves that expose their hypocrisy. And Democrats too (John Edwards, Kwame Kilpatrick, Elliot Spitzer).

    We need someone who has, and will, remain faithful to his/her spouse.

    Someone like Mitt Romney.

    October 6, 2009 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  19. Susan

    "You can see our statements.." I want to see the RULES, not what you say the rules are! It cannot be ethical to sleep with a married woman, number one, and then to get a cushy job for her husband, not to mention the money! Is this kind of behavior more rampant in Washington, or is it just easier to get caught there? As a woman, I am appalled at the lack of morals, the disregard for spouses, the idea that these guys are ruled by their dicks and not their brains. Not to mention the stupid, stupid women who fall for their lines (or their wallets!) I know no one is perfect, but generally the people who pull this crap are not spouting Bible verses to their drooling supporters. Except in Washington...and this guy is involved in C Street Ministries, too? What are they preaching there? And why is the conservative party still voting for them?

    October 6, 2009 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  20. John

    Every Criminal says that he did not brake the law or breach the rule.

    It is for the Judiciary to decide. A man cannot be a judge for his own cause.

    October 6, 2009 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  21. David

    Well well well! How the might hath fallen!!

    October 6, 2009 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  22. tony

    Oh Please! It is so predictable – Republicans do something terribly wrong, get caught, deny it, and then say the did nothing wrong. I am so tired of these scandals. Its curious the majority happen to Republicans, not Democrats. We should just kill all of these scumbags so we don't have to deal with their constant drama.

    October 6, 2009 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  23. Wanda in Montana

    If sleazy behavior isn't unethical to Republicans I guess that explains why they never apologize for anything. This guy also broke laws. But, hey, no problem as long as he has an (R) after his name!

    October 6, 2009 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  24. sagin

    RE: "..we complied with all of the ethics."

    How is that s....around someone's wife and as a payback giving him a lobbying job complying with all of ethics?? Only in a republican mind this can be possible. OMG!, the guy didn't even leave any room for compliance with human ethics – forget house rules. How is that for the 'country first' slogan of the republicans? Sounds like 'somebody's wife first' in this case! nuff said.

    October 6, 2009 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  25. AEK

    The Republican plan...

    When caught-
    Claim to not remember
    Blame the other person
    Blame the liberal press

    It that doesn't work-
    Lie (loudly)
    Claim to not remember (loudly)
    Blame the other person (loudly)
    Blame the liberal press (loudly)

    If that doesn't work-
    PRETEND you're too busy serving your country and blow it off!

    October 6, 2009 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
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