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Update on Nevada's embattled Sen. John Ensign

Our apologies to Nevada’s junior senator: The Ticket has neglected him for far too long. (At the very least, we last left him with a lovely haiku.)

 

2010 has not been kind to Sen. John Ensign, the once-ascendant Republican whose dalliances have jeopardized his political career. And that’s after a disastrous 2009.

Nevada's Republican Senator John Ensign

 

Remember?

 

The world learned he had bedded his co-chief of staff’s wife, who also worked for him; pushed both of them out of their jobs; had his well-to-do parents pay them $96,000 and begged friends in Nevada to find a new job for the cuckolded husband, Doug Hampton.

 

Darn that Mark Sanford! Without the South Carolina governor’s, ahem, travels on the Appalachian Trail, Ensign might have topped the news.

 

If last year’s revelations landed the married and socially conservative Ensign in ethical trouble, this year’s left him in political and – possibly – legal jeopardy.

 

Last month, the Department of Justice served subpoenas on a number of Ensign associates, including Nevada political heavyweight Sig Rogich and the National Republican Senatorial Committee. Here’s a copy of the subpoena, via Las Vegas TV station KLAS.

 

Las Vegas commentator Jon Ralston reported that federal authorities might be looking at an indictment related to “structuring” – or, as he explained this month:

Structuring is a broad term that refers to the crime of creating financial transactions to evade reporting requirements — for example, a $96,000 payment to your mistress laundered through a trust controlled by your parents and calling it a “gift” instead of what it obviously was: a severance payment that had to be reported

Uh-oh.

 

So it has taken nearly a year, but political players are starting to – as we suspected they might – openly treat Ensign as the pariah of 2010. Rep. Dean Heller, a top Nevada Republican, stopped just short of calling for Ensign’s resignation. The Washington Post referred to him as “disgraced and morally craven” in an editorial that had pretty much nothing to do with ethics.

 

For his part, Ensign has blamed the media, not his libido.

 

On Tuesday, we learned just how deep in exile Nevada’s junior senator is. In politics, the powerful are rewarded with cash. Ralston tweeted that Ensign’s first-quarter fundraising was – drum roll, please -- $50. Nevada Gov. Jim Gibbons raised more for his fund to challenge the healthcare reform law in court.

 

Let's face it -- even street poets drum up more change.

-- Ashley Powers

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Photo: Associated Press

 
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The masterminds behind John Ensign, who got his buddy the lobbying job, are currently working for Republican gubernatorial candidate Brian Sandoval now. If they're indicted, will "St. Sandoval" the former federal judge need to fire them?

This was a long time in coming, goodbye "hush money" Senator John Ensign (R-NV), don't let the door hit you. The party of "Family Values" my ass, more like the "Party of hypocrites". Poor Christopher Lee, at least he resigned! What about the "diaper boy" and big mouth Senator David Vitter (R-LA)! Too Funny!


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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
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