BREAKING: Ensign's office says he's no longer target of federal investigation
December 1st, 2010
05:47 PM ET
10 years ago

BREAKING: Ensign's office says he's no longer target of federal investigation

Washington (CNN) - Senator John Ensign's office says he's been told he's no longer a target of a federal grand jury investigation into whether he violated the law in an effort to cover up an affair he had with the wife of a former aide.

The two-term Republican admitted in June to an extramarital affair with Cindy Hampton, his onetime campaign treasurer. She is the wife of top aide Doug Hampton.

Ensign and his family were longtime friends with the Hamptons. Doug Hampton has given interviews stating his family has received money and employment offers from Ensign after he and his wife left the Senate staff in April 2008. Ensign admitted his parents gave the Hamptons $96,000 but said the money was a gift, not an effort to suppress word of the affair.

In a statement, Ensign's lawyer, Paul Coggins, said "The Department of Justice has informed us that Senator Ensign is no longer a target of its investigation and that it has no plans to bring any charges against him in this matter. The Federal Election Commission and the Justice Department have reached the right result on the baseless allegations made against him, and we look forward to the Ethics Committee reaching the same conclusion soon."

The Justice Department had no comment.

Jennifer Cooper, an Ensign spokesperson, said:

"Senator Ensign is certainly pleased that the Department of Justice no longer views him as a target in their investigation, and has long-stated that he acted in accordance with the law. Our office and the Senator have been cooperative with this investigation, and it's important that the truth in this matter is finally coming to light. It is the Senator's hope that the Ethics Committee soon follows suit. Senator Ensign looks forward to continuing his hard work on behalf of the people of Nevada."

A statement from Ensign's lawyer in July said: "Each gift was limited to $12,000." "The payments were made as gifts, accepted as gifts and complied with tax rules governing gifts." Under U.S. tax laws, gifts of up to $12,000 are tax-exempt.

According to the statement, Ensign's parents learned of the affair from their son and decided to make the gifts "out of concern for the well-being of long-time family friends during a difficult time."

Before the senator's admission of an affair, he was considered a rising political star and possible Republican presidential candidate for 2012.

–CNN Senior Congressional Correspondent Dana Bash and Justice Producer Terry Frieden contributed to this report

Filed under: John Ensign
soundoff (5 Responses)
  1. Video Guy

    It still makes him the "clown prince of Family Values" The "right" wing should be so proud.

    December 1, 2010 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  2. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    I see one Government Department that can be cut out to help the deficit 'THE ETHICS COMMITTEE" and whoever does their check and balance but I'm sure it too consist of those who have unethical practices.

    December 1, 2010 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  3. Son of CSM.Wiggins

    But they will hang Charlie lol . Wow the whole world has been fooled by a single race of people of there superiority and most just sit back and take it lol now newt is talking about replacing the left . Hey newt start with me but get fitted for a suite and a batesville while your at it .

    December 1, 2010 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  4. Proud member of "Global Zero"

    Of course he will not be investigated...he is a Republican. Only Democrats can be investigated......

    December 1, 2010 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  5. they call me "tater salad"

    Ahhh!!!.........The benefits of wealth, power, and privilege, isn't it just the best thing ever? Our government officials have wwwwaaaaaayyyyyyyyyyyyy too much power! We the people need to change that, maybe that Sharon Angle loon wasn't too far off the mark with that whole "second ammendment remedies" thing...............Works for me!

    December 1, 2010 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |