You are hereTalking Points Memo: Former Ensign Love Triangle Aide Indicted For Post-Senate Lobbying

Talking Points Memo: Former Ensign Love Triangle Aide Indicted For Post-Senate Lobbying

March 24, 2011- Federal prosecutors have charged the husband of Sen. John Ensign's (R-NV) former mistress with breaking criminal revolving-door lobbying laws.

The indictment, issued Thursday afternoon, charges Doug Hampton, a former top aide to Ensign, with seven counts of violating conflict-of-interest laws, according to a Justice Department release.

The indictment is bad news for Ensign who announced he would not seek re-election last month. Ensign has been accused of knowingly violating the one-year lobbying ban by helping Hampton set up a short-lived career on K Street. Ensign was having an affair with Doug's wife Cynthia and allegedly assisted Doug Hampton with lobbying prospects as a way of keeping the affair under wraps.

The Senate Ethics Committee last month appointed a special prosecutor to look into alleged hush money payments Ensign's parents made to Cynthia and Doug Hampton and the accusations of violating the one-year lobbying ban. In December Ensign said the Justice Department had told him he was no longer a target in the Justice Department probe, but shortly after the Ethics Committee's announcement last month, Ensign said he would retire instead of seeking re-election.

Both Cynthia and Doug worked for Ensign, and Doug Hampton was a senior aide. Ensign's parents paid the Hamptons $96,000 once they left the senator's employment. Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington filed a complaint with the Ethics panel, charging Ensign with paying the money to keep the Hamptons quiet about the affair. The Federal Election Commission said the payments did not violate campaign-finance law because they were paid in installments to the Hamptons and their children in amounts allowed under U.S. tax law.

The Justice Department indictment alleges that Doug Hampton left Ensign's office on May 1, 2008, and became a government affairs consultant for an airline company and an energy company, both headquartered in Las Vegas.

It accuses Hampton of seeking, on behalf of the energy company, assistance from Ensign and staff members to convince the Department of Interior to expedite release of an environmental impact statement that would allow the energy company to move forward on its delayed proposal to build a coal-fired power plant in eastern Nevada.




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