From Rachel Maddow:
The worse part of this is Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) was the middle man attempting to pay off Ensign's mistress and knew the implications. The full article is here. The problem with Ensign is that he KNEW that paying his mistress' husband and family off was ILLEGAL. Right now the issue is can he survive and will he be re-elected. And Republican Leadership in D.C. have distanced themselves from Ensign.
Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell passed on several opportunities to defend two embattled GOP senators Friday as a new report raised questions about Sen. John Ensign's efforts to cover up his affair with a campaign aide.
McConnell refused to answer several questions about the report, which provided new details of the aftermath of the nine-month affair that Ensign had with campaign aide Cynthia Hampton, the wife of the senator's chief of staff at the time. Ensign eventually dismissed them both.
The Republican leader also refused to comment on new details that Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., tried to broker a payment of restitution from Ensign to the Hamptons.
McConnell, R-Ky., had been asked about a report in The New York Times that said Ensign tried to get Doug Hampton, his lover's husband, a lobbying job to try to contain the damage. The Hamptons later went through Coburn to seek an $8.5 million settlement from the Nevada Republican before the affair became public, the paper said.
Other Senate Republicans took McConnell's lead: none immediately came to the defense of their embattled colleagues.
It was not immediately clear what Ensign's political future held. The Senate Ethics Committee automatically opened a preliminary investigation into his conduct after receiving a complaint from Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in June. The panel, which conducts business in strict confidentiality, can launch investigations on lawmakers on its own without receiving a complaint from an outside party.
The Times report raised questions about whether Doug Hampton lobbied Ensign and whether the senator facilitated the arrangement. Federal criminal law imposes a one-year ban on former congressional aides lobbying their ex-bosses or office colleagues. read more here...
And this is what will nail Ensign to the wall:
Now, Ensign is making himself scarce again, after The New York Times reported that he helped Hampton find work as a lobbyist and that Hampton lobbied Ensign on behalf of his clients. Hampton told the newspaper that he and Ensign were aware of a ban on Hampton's lobbying his former boss or Ensign's staff, but chose to ignore it.
Neither Hampton nor his attorney, Daniel J. Albregts, returned telephone calls to The Associated Press for comment. Ensign's office responded to the Times story with an e-mail noting that it had previously been publicized that the senator helped Hampton get two jobs. Ensign's office did not reply to further questions.