L’affaire Ensign

by James Downie | May 14, 2011

Republican Senator John Ensign, who famously had an affair with the wife of his aide (and former best friend) Doug Hampton and then went to great—and perhaps illegal—lengths to help Hampton build a lobbying outfit, may have already resigned from the Senate, but the Senate Ethics Committee isn’t letting him off the hook that easy. After conducting its most extensive ethics investigation in at least two decades, the Committee, perhaps grumpy that it won’t get to show off the full fruits of its labor, released a report on Thursday recommending, among other things, that the Justice Department consider Ensign’s case. The report itself, based on a review of more than 500,000 pages of documents and interviews or depositions of 72 witnesses, is 68 pages long and doesn’t exactly read like a pulp thriller—but that doesn’t stop it from containing goodies like an awkward Christmas Eve summit between the two couples in question and Ensign’s advocacy of a dubious document shredding program. To that end, we decided to read it for you and pick out all the best parts. So without further ado, l’affaire Ensign, indexed for your convenience:

Acronyms, provenance of, vi

Aiding and abetting, definition of, 53

Blackberry Messenger, an explanation of, 21 (fn)

Bruce, Carol Elder, special counsel for the Ethics Committee

As emphasis adder, 18, 19, 22, 25, 28, 30-33, 35, 36, 40, 41, 66 (fn)
As illeist, 1-3, 4 (fn), 7, 11, 14, 19 (fn), 21 (fn), 24, 34 (fn), 39, 43, 45-52, 55-61, 65-67
Displaying respect for Ensign’s intimacy, 2, 11

Chatwin, Bruce, legislative assistant for Senator Ensign, as tram escort, 36

Christmas, celebration with mistress's family of, 12

Coburn, Tom, senator from Oklahoma

As God, 13
As not a negotiator, 38
As realtor, 16

Coe, Tim, Fellowship Foundation, as overseer of John Ensign’s pants, 13

Conspiracy, evidence of, 55

Ensign, John, Senator from Nevada

As “fredschwartz72@yahoo.com,” 14
As veterinarian, 7
Fondness for Wheat Thins, 17
Losing his mind, 11
Permitting spoliation of evidence, 5
Poor grammar of, 39
Post-affair forgiveness of loan to Doug Hampton, 9
Preference for “alpha males,” 10
Preference for Gmail, 5, 40, 61
Request for “long overdue shredding program,” 21
Trip to Maui of, 44

Ensign, Michael and Sharon, parents of Senator Ensign, as rain makers, 20

FEC, fecklessness of, 5, 43-44, 45, 60

Gros, Simon, Ass. Sec. for Gov. Affairs, Department of Transportation, as “little tyrant,” 32

Hampton, Doug

Golf addiction of, 9
“Japanese corporate management skills” of, 10
Sudden interest in aviation of, 24

Harrison, Ponder, thoughtful name of, see Harrison, Ponder

Lopez, John, chief of staff for Senator Ensign

As agreeable disagreer, 26
As rationalizer, 26, 31
As Roll Call reader, 33
“Jacking [a consultant] up to high heaven,” 22, 32
Putting a “kybosh” on contact with Hampton, 26

United States Senate, former members of, see Ensign, John

James Downie is a reporter-researcher at The New Republic.

Follow @tnr on Twitter.

Source URL: http://www.newrepublic.com//article/politics/88406/john-ensign-doug-hampton-affair-senate-ethics-report