When Republican Senator John Ensign resigned in early May, he successfully avoided a most assured admonishing and worse still a likely expulsion from the United States Senate after having an affair with one of his married staff workers and the fallout as he tried to cover it up.
Then, on Thursday, the Senate Ethics Committee report on John Ensign was issued with unanimous bi-partisan agreement to send the report to the U.S. Department of Justice and the Federal Election Commission with, as The Rachel Maddow Show host Rachel Maddow stated on her Thursday show, “referrals for prosecution.”
Maddow’s coverage and analysis of the Senate’s report covers in a fairly detailed manner not only Ensign’s violations of the most basic of ethical conduct in any society, but also the potential criminality of his actions and those of his staff and possibly one or more other Republican Senators depending upon their involvement in the matter.
I am sure that the GOP response will be to downplay this action, as a regrettable act, albeit minor in damage, though nothing could be farther from the truth. It is not an issue of merely a poor personal choice on the part of a United States Senator. Forget even the hypocrisy that Ensign like so many other is the Republican Party would be a party to the same actions which they so often criticize others.
Instead, review the key issues of this scandal, according to the Senate document:
- Ensign allegedly aggressively sexually harassed one of his workers, Ms. Hampton, to have an affair with him, and then allegedly extorted the woman to continue the affair against her wishes upon threat of unemployment for her and her husband, who also at the time worked for Ensign, as well as upon threat of discontinuing other financial entitlements paid to the family.
- Ensign’s parents allegedly violated finance laws by paying off the Hampton’s for their silence, and then obstructed justice by lying about it to special counsel about the payment.
- Fellow Republican Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma evidently saw no problems with the payoffs despite their illegality, and actually allegedly played a part in the negotiations when the Hampton’s initially asked for more payoff than Ensign was willing to pay.
- Ensign allegedly got Mr. Hampton an illegal lobbying job as part of the payoff to the Hampton’s.
- Ensign allegedly used his power as Senator to do whatever Mr. Hampton, lobbyist, asked.
- Ensign allegedly obstructed justice by destroying requested documents and emails.
Of this whole sordid affair, however, what is of the greatest issue is the fact that Ensign has greatly damaged this country by using his elected position in government not for the public good as he was entrusted to do by the voters of the state of Nevada, but rather to cover up his own personal sexcapade.
He had a completely arrogant, egotistical and narcissistic attitude that everyone and everything, including the federal government and by proxy the U.S citizens, were his own personal resources to be used and leveraged as he desired. Unfortunately, this is a trait shared all too often by many in power in Washington, and it is a prime reason for the corruption which has become almost accepted now as “business as usual” by many politicians as well as by the news media which is supposed to guard against this kind of criminality through the enlightenment of the masses.