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Public Report_Preliminary Inquiry Into the Matter of Sen Ensign

Public Report_Preliminary Inquiry Into the Matter of Sen Ensign

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12/31/2011

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__________________________________________
REPORT OF
 
THE PRELIMINARY INQUIRY
 
INTO THE MATTER OF
 
SENATOR JOHN E. ENSIGN
 
__________________________________________
SUBMITTED TO THE UNITED STATES
 
SENATE SELECT COMMITTEE ON ETHICS
 
BY
 
CAROL ELDER BRUCE, SPECIAL COUNSEL
 
MAY 10, 2011
 
 
i
TABLE OF CONTENTS
PageI.
 
INTRODUCTION AND SUMMARY OF FINDINGS.........................................................
1
A.
 
Introduction.............................................................................................................
1
B.
 
Summary of Findings..............................................................................................
3
C.
 
The Special Counsel Recommends Referrals to the Department of Justiceand the Federal Election Commission.....................................................................
7
II.
 
FINDINGS OF FACT.............................................................................................................
7
A.
 
Factual Background................................................................................................
7
B.
Senator Ensigns Affair with Cynthia Hampton...................................................101. Mr. Hamptons Discovery of the Affair....................................................122.
Mr. Hampton Seeks Assistance to End the Affair and an
Intervention Is Held...............................................................................133.
The Affair Continues until July 2008........................................................14
 
C.
Senator Ensign Plans for Transition Finances for Mr. Hampton.......................15
D.
 
Senator Ensign Arranges a Consulting Firm Position for Doug HamptonAfter Terminating Mr. Hampton...........................................................................16
 
E.
 
The Senator Has Extensive Discussions with Doug Hampton about
Severance Payments..............................................................................................17
 
F.
The Senators Father Makes a Payment of $96,000 from the EnsignFamily Trust
to the Hamptons...............................................................................19
 
G.
Mr. Hampton Receives Excessive Unused Vacation Pay.....................................20
H.
Senator Ensign Takes Action Surrounding Mr. Hamptons Post-
Employment Lobbying..........................................................................................21
 1. Se
nator Ensign Takes Steps to Reduce Records Retention,Communicate Off of the Senate Server, and MinimizeContacts with the Ethics Committee.........................................................21
 2.
Senator Ensign Takes Efforts to Persuade and Compel
Constituents to Hire Mr.
 
Ham
pton............................................................22
 
I.
Mr. Hampton Departs and Immediately Lobbies Senator Ensigns Staff.............23
J.
 
Senator Ensign and John Lopez Agree to Channel Mr.
HamptonsLobbying Contacts Through Mr.
Lopez................................................................27
 1. Senator Ensign and John Lopez Assist Allegiant AirlinesBased on Mr. Hamptons Lobbying..........................................................29
 
ii
 2. John Lopez Assists Mr. Hamptons Client Entravision............................333.
Mr. Hampton Lobbies Sen
ator Ensigns Office on Behalf of 
NV
 
Energy................................................................................................
.344. Mr. Hampton Requests Help in Developing RelationshipsBetween Allegiant Airlines and Federal Officials....................................35
K.
 
Mr. Hampton Hires a Lawyer and Raises
Damage Claims; Senator Coburn
Handles Negotiations with Senator Ensign...........................................................37
L.
 
Senator Ensign Discloses the Affair to His Staff and the Public in June2009.......................................................................................................................38
 1. The Senator Speaks of Making the Hamptons Whole...........................382.
Senator Ensign Makes Journal Entries Describing thePayment to the Hamptons.........................................................................39
 3.
Senator Ensign Makes Draft Public Statements Referring to a
Severance Payment................................................................................404. Based on Advice from Senator Ensigns Attorney, His Staff 
Removes All References to Payments in the Final PublicStatement...................................................................................................41
 5.
Mr. Hampton Reveals in Public That the Senator Made
Payments to the Hampto
ns........................................................................42
 6.
Michael Ensign, Sharon Ensign, and Senator Ensign SubmitAffidavits to the FEC Regarding the Payment..........................................43
 
a.
 
There Was No Evidence Supporting the Assertion inthe FEC Affidavits That the Se
nior Ensigns Paid for
the Hamptons Trip to Hawaii.......................................................44b. Michael and Sharon Ensigns Payment to the
Hamptons Greatly Exceeds Other Gifts Given to
Non
-
Ensign Family Members.......................................................45
 
M.
The Senators Chief of Staff Misleads the Public Regarding SenatorEnsigns Actions and Mr. Hamptons Lobbying Efforts......................................46
III.
 
SUMMARY OF PRELIMINARY INQUIRY INVESTIGATION......................................47
 
A.
 
The Request for Investigation of Senator Ensign..................................................47
 
B.
 
The Preliminary Inquiry........................................................................................47
 1.
Initial Document Productions, Witness Interviews, and
Depositions................................................................................................48
 2. Retention of Special Counsel to Assist with Pr
eliminary
Inquiry.......................................................................................................49
 
a.
 
Additional Document Production and ForensicImaging..........................................................................................49
 

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