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Senate Ethics Committee Public Report Preliminary Inquiry Into the Matter of Senator John Ensign

Senate Ethics Committee Public Report Preliminary Inquiry Into the Matter of Senator John Ensign

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Published by davidbadash
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
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

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Published by: davidbadash on May 13, 2011
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05/13/2011

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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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