Predator Pounces on Prey
The predatory senator’s opportunity to pounce on his vulnerable prey (Mrs. Hampton) arose after the Hampton home was burglarized
, and the family was invited to stay with the Ensigns. Mrs. Hampton was terrified of the senator’s enormous power ~ if she continued to refuse to prostitute herself ~ she and her husband would loose their jobs and their home and their children would have to drop out of school.
Her fears were prophetic. Ultimately, she and her husband were fired. They lost their home to foreclosure. The kids had to drop out of school despite a $20,000 loan from her family. Mrs. Hampton filed for bankruptcy. Mr. Hampton has been indicted. The couple is getting a divorce. Meanwhile, the senator resigned, but he’ll get an estimated $27,000 annual pension for his ten years of service in Congress.
The Senate Ethics report concluded their was “substantial credible evidence” that Sen. Ensign should have fired himself for violating his own policy against sexual harassment and fraternization.
- Ensign & Hampton
The only people who’re suffering in this story are the ones who blew the whistle.
There’s an incredible unfairness here.
– Melanie Sloan, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW)
Cuckolded Husband Went Ballistic
When Mr. Hampton discovered he’d been betrayed and cuckolded by his best “friend and brother in Christ,” he went ballistic and confronted the senator in an airport parking lot
a couple of days before Christmas, 2007. The battle between these “alpha males” continued for two years. Both men lost Mrs. Hampton’s love and respect.
On Christmas Eve, the senator expressed remorse and promised to end his pursuit, but he did not stop his predatory behavior.
In January, he broke his promise and gave Mrs. Hampton $3,000 to fund their liaisons. At the National Prayer Breakfast, he told Mrs. Hampton that he wanted to marry her.
On Valentine’s Day, 2008, there was a second confrontation at Sen. Ensign’s C Street residence, a 12 bedroom row house which he shared with members of the Fellowship, a group of Conservative Christian lawmakers. It has been dubbed a “Jesus frat
” and “bordello” by critics of sexual scandals involving “Christian” men who lived, scored, and/or prayed there
: Sen. Ensign, former Gov. Mark Sanford
(R-SC), and former Rep. Chip Pickering (R-MS).
The leader of the confrontation was Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK). The group forced Sen. Ensign to end his pursuit of Mrs. Hampton via letter:
Ensign's Apology to Mrs. Hampton
Shortly after sending the letter, Sen. Ensign called Mrs. Hampton and told her to ignore it. Two days later, Mr. Hampton spotted their cars outside a hotel and called Tim Coe, the senator’s spiritual advisor. Mr. Coe called the senator and exploded:
I know exactly where you are. I know exactly what you are doing. Put your pants on and go home.
Sen. Ensign whined:
I can’t, I love her [Mrs. Hampton].
On February 17, 2008, the Hamptons confronted Sen. Ensign at his home. The senator told Mr. Hampton that he wanted to marry his wife and then fired him from his $144,000/year job. After confessing his love for Mrs. Hampton to Mrs. Ensign, the couple separated for a few months. Sen. Ensign lived with his parents, who demanded he stop the pursuit of Mrs. Hampton.
In March, Sen. Coburn staged another intervention at the C Street house.
Mrs. Hampton was fired on April 9, 2008 from her $50,000/year part-time job. The pursuit continued sporadically until August, 2008 when Sen. Ensign finally honored her wishes to stop the harassment.
Darlene & John Ensign
“Gift” from the Ensign Family Trust
Michael and Sharon Ensign, the senator’s parents, issued a check from the Ensign Family Trust to the Hampton family for $96,000 on April 7, 2008. They claim it was a “gift,” but others call it severance pay or hush money.
In 2009, Mr. Hampton’s attorneys, Marty Sherman, Mr. Coe, and Sen. Coburn allegedly attempted to broker a deal of $2.8 million in restitution/transitional finances for the Hamptons. Sen. Ensign, in true David Letterman fashion, characterized the negotiations as blackmail. Mr. Hampton escalated by writing to Megyn Kelly at Fox News on June 11, 2009. Rather than adhere to his First Amendment obligations as a Fox reporter, on June 15, 2009, former senator Rick Santorum (R-PA) leaked the story to Sen. Ensign, who engaged in damage control. Fox News claimed they didn’t think the scandal was “credible.”
Sen. Ensign bullied friends, colleagues, and contributors into hiring Mr. Hampton as a lobbyist despite the fact that he had no expertise. This left Mr. Hampton vulnerable to charges of violating federal conflict of interest laws. In a bizarre twist of “soap opera” drama, the whistleblower was indicted
, and CREW’s Melanie Sloan blasted the Department of Justice:
It is an outrage that the Justice Department would choose to only prosecute Doug Hampton and not his well documented co-conspirator Senator John Ensign. The DOJ has wiped away any doubt that you really can get away with almost anything as long as you happen to be a high-ranking government official. The message from the DOJ is clear: if you work for the government, and you know your boss is engaged in wrongdoing, keep your mouth shut.
Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA)
. . .had Sen. Ensign not resigned…
the evidence of (his) wrongdoing would have been substantial enough
to warrant the consideration of expulsion,
the harshest penalty available to the committee and the Senate.
– Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA)
Substantial Credible Evidence
On June 24, 2009, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) filed an ethics complaint alleging sexual harassment, employment discrimination, post-employment ban violations, and issues related to the $96,000 check to the Hamptons.
Doug Hampton, the cuckolded husband whose wife was pursued by ex-Sen. John Ensign, is under indictment by the Justice Department.
And Ensign, accused by the U.S. Senate Ethics Committee in a devastating report of obstructing justice, lying to the Federal Election Commission, violating campaign finance laws and conspiring to violate cooling-off laws, has been told by the Justice Department to have a nice life.
. . .relentlessly thorough special counsel, Carol Elder Bruce. . .riveting and revolting report documenting Ensign’s depredations. . .massive cover-up. . .
The role played by Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn, [Sen.] Ensign’s gynecologist who once claimed doctor-patient confidentiality to block the ethics probers. . .a go-between. . .advocated that the “Hamptons should receive. . .some living money. . .seed money. . .” Now that’s a nice delivery, doctor. . .
- Hamptons, Slankers & Ensigns
The Family doesn’t really care about political corruption. . .it’s about preserving power.
– Jeff Sharlet, author of The Family
Preserving C Street Entitlement
On February 19, 2008, Sen. Ensign seized an invitation from Mike and Lindsey Slanker to allow Mr. Hampton use their November, Inc. consulting firm as “his business card” for lobbying work. The Slankers didn’t know the senator had been sexually harassing Mrs. Hampton until Mrs. Ensign called to enlighten them.
Sen. Coburn outrageously claimed doctor-patient privilege to avoid testifying about his role. Right. He’s an OB/GYN. He also tried to duck out using his role as deacon to establish privilege reserved for ordained ministers, rabbis, etc. The Family, as a religious organization, has tax-exempt status while engaging in intense lobbying activities.
This is about preserving John, preserving the Republican party, this is about preserving C Street. These men care about themselves and their own political careers, period.
In 1998, Rep. Ensign (R-NV 1st) was one of the first to call for Pres. Bill Clinton’s impeachment for his affair with Monica Lewinsky.
In many respects, this sordid tale gives women a detailed playbook on how arrogant narcissists abuse their power and women with impunity. Adam coined the strategy by blaming Eve, and one of my own former lovers perfected it. He defended men who engaged in sexual harassment. This morning, I had an epiphany ~ one of those “duh!” moments. When I was still in law school, he needed my help to win an important case before the U.S. Supreme Court. . .the first sentence of their unanimous decision was exactly what I had told him during our pillow talk. Why has it taken me so long to realize I can beat him at his own game? I’ve thought for a long time that women need their own winning playbook.
I’d like to give a special shout-out and message of profound gratitude to Linda Lowen for her journalistic integrity. She is a blogger for the New York Times who recently wrote about Ms. Magazine’s cover story (Summer, 2011 issue), “Sex, Lies & Hush Money: Did a right-wing U.S. senator help cover up the affair of another right-wing senator? So why haven’t they both been prosecuted?” by Katherine Spillar.