Senator John Ensign Subpoenaed
Last night Senator Ensign arranged for phone calls about health insurance reform to constituents in the Congressional District of Dina Titus (D). While at least one political scientist called this move “clumsy,” today that is the least of the Senator’s problems.
It seems that Sen. Ensign and 6 local businesses got subpoenas today regarding his now-ended affair with Cynthia Hampton. Confirmed recipients include political rainmaker Sig Rogich, former state assemblyman Pete Ernaut, executives at eCommLink, Selling Source and Pay Card USA, Ensign’s former Chief of Staff, and The National Republican Senatorial Committee. Unconfirmed but likely recipients include electric utility NV Energy and Allegiant Air.
At issues is not whether the Senator was in fact having an affair — everyone admits that he was — but rather the aftermath. Not only were the Hamptons paid a lot of money, but Mr. Hampton was rewarded with several employment positions that seemed to “keep his mouth shut” about the whole business. And that is where the NRSC comes into play: it is alleged that Sen. Ensign hired Mike and Lindsay Slanker to run the NRSC fund-raising operations, while the Slankers were in turn trying to get Mr. Hampton hired as a lobbyist. Did anyone at the NRSC know what was going on? It seems unlikely, and unlikelier still that any evidence to that effect will be found.
Whether this will go anywhere is anybody’s guess — at least until everybody appears before the Grand Jury at the end of the month. If I had to make a prediction, it would be that Sen. Ensign’s political career is nearing an end, but despite the fact that this is a criminal probe, I would be shocked if anybody actually went to prison in this scandal.