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Doug Hampton, ex-aide to Sen. John Ensign, indicted in lobbying case

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Leila Navidi

Doug Hampton is a former senior aide to Sen. John Ensign and is married to the woman with whom the senator admitted to having an affair.

Updated Thursday, March 24, 2011 | 5:46 p.m.

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John Ensign

Sen. John Ensign's former administrative assistant, whose wife had an affair with the senator, was indicted Thursday for allegedly lobbying Ensign and his staff in violation of federal conflict of interest laws.

Douglas Hampton is charged in connection with lobbying he did on behalf of a Las Vegas airline company and an energy company.

Federal law prohibits a senior Senate aide from lobbying the Senate for one year after terminating employment.

The affair with Hampton's wife has sidetracked the Republican senator's political career. Ensign announced this month that he would not seek a third term.

Ensign has said the affair with Cynthia Hampton began during a rocky time in his marriage in December 2007 and continued until August 2008. Cynthia and Doug Hampton left their jobs with Ensign in May 2008.

When Doug Hampton found out about the affair between his wife and the senator, Ensign helped line up jobs for Hampton with campaign donors.

According to the indictment, Hampton lobbied on behalf of Las Vegas-based Allegiant Air and for NV Energy.

Hampton's lawyer, Dan Albregts, declined to comment about the latest development in the long-running probe surrounding Ensign and the Hamptons.

A call to Ensign's office was not immediately returned.

The indictment marks the second reversal of fortune for those involved in the Justice Department inquiry, which followed revelations of Ensign's affair with Hampton's wife.

Ensign himself came under investigation on whether he conspired with Hampton to violate the lobbying restriction.

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Sen. John Ensign with his wife, Darlene, and Cynthia and Doug Hampton.

Last December, the Justice Department disclosed to the senator that it no longer viewed him as a target in the probe.

On behalf of Allegiant Air, the indictment says, Hampton sought the assistance of Ensign and a legislative aide to Ensign to convince the U.S. Transportation Department to reconsider its position on a fuel surcharge pricing issue. Hampton allegedly sought the assistance of Ensign and his staff to help schedule a March 2009 meeting involving the secretary of transportation and executives from the airline company.

On behalf of NV Energy, the indictment stated, Hampton sought the assistance of Ensign and his chief of staff to expedite the release of a U.S. Interior Department environmental impact statement regarding a company coal-fired power plant.

The lobbying effort was designed to allow the energy company to move forward on its delayed proposal to build the plant.

If convicted, Hampton, 48, would face up to five years in prison on each of the seven counts of violating federal conflict of interest laws. Hampton also would face a maximum fine of $250,000 per count. Hampton faces a court appearance in federal court in Washington next Thursday.

The lobbying restrictions are contained in the Honest Leadership and Open Government Act. The law is aimed at slowing the revolving door between congressional employment and lobbying activities following the departure of aides from government.

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  1. This is getting juicy.

  2. Unbeeleevable!!!

    So, no endictment for John Ensign, who GOT Hampton the JOB to be in a position to LOBBY his staff & the senate BEFORE the one year moratorium...

    BUT... the dude who's WIFE Ensign shtooped, (who ALSO worked for the Senator), AND who took nearly a HUNDRED GRAND of Johnny's mommy & daddy's MOOLA, is being indicted?

    This is EXACTLY like a T.V. Soap Opera!

    Sometimes, truth is STRANGER THAN FICTION, because fiction has to be BELIEVABLE...

  3. No wonder Ensign dropped his reelection bid as he did. He probably saw this coming. Hampton's lawyers are going to drag old Ensign through the mud with this for however long this thing runs.

    Ensign should do Nevada a favor and resign now.

  4. @ Turrialba...

    "Ensign should do Nevada a favor and resign now."

    Good call!

  5. @gmag

    Unfortunately, Ensign is all about Ensign and no one and nothing else. His family and the State are going to suffer needlessly due to his selfishness.

    Ensign should do his family and Nevada a favor and resign now.

    T.

  6. We're not in Kansas anymore! When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.

  7. Looks like the noose is tightening around Senator Ensign's neck.

    Pretty soon all he will be able to do is pull a chair over, adjust the noose so it's more comfortable, stand up straight rather precariously on the chair, and wait for the inevitable to happen.

    I can see it now. The Ensign is at half mast right now. (Sorry, I'm retired Navy and couldn't resist that analogy...) As falls Mr. Hampton, so too will fall Senator Ensign.

    He is most deserving.

  8. Could it be, Hamp will get a nice Plea Deal, and ROLL OVER on our "Family Values" Hero???

  9. Who wants to take the bets on this one.

    Mr. Ensign has stated he is not running for reelection. He will leave office, nothing more will be heard from him and he will live the rest of his life just fine.

    Mr. Ensign will never be charged with anything.

    Just the way it works once you have got to his level.

  10. Swing your partners partner and screw the husband too. . . whew, don't it just stink to high heaven? How on God's green earth have John Ensign's wormy deeds come to this? If John Ensign is allowed to finish out his Senate term. . . then people must ask themselves how and what part has our dear Harry Reid played in this show?
    Nevadans must demand the time has come for Mr John Ensign to resign. What Nevadan can look into the mirror and honestly believe our soon to be Senator Ensign deserves federal office life-time retirement benefits for un-honorable mischief, shat-turd trust and overwhelming shame brought upon ALL Nevada constituents? Apparently, John Ensign never took the time to learn the golden rules or that a wise monkey is a monkey that does not monkey with another monkey's monkey!

    And for the record Senator Ensign CONTINUES to fail honoring his pledge made to Paul, Ana Rupp in Silver Peak, Nevada to help with a timely formal complaint on record with Senator Ensign's office, MSHA, Nevada Mine Safety Training Section and Round Mountain Gold Corp.

    Unfortunately Senator John "Shaftie" Ensign has no problems shafting his co-workers or constituents and failing to honor pledges made? PRupp B125 SP NV 89047

  11. our soon to be ex Senator Ensign. . .

  12. What will happen is this case is, Doug Hampton will turn in evidence against Ensign. The key here is that Federal prosecuters what outside confirmation to indict Ensign to ensure a conviction in court. Hampton will strike a deal, still being convicted of something, but no jail time. Ensign will get jail time, this is the end game. The Feds are squeezing Hampton to get Ensign. Easy play.

  13. "I'm shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on in here!" Claude Raines, Casablanca

    Or as Gomer Pyle would put it, "Surprise, surprise!"

    I can just imagine the dialogue when John Ensign gets to the Pearly Gates.

    The bright side? Unlike Newt Gingrich, Ensign has not claimed that his infidelity was due to his love of country.

    John Vitter of La. (prostitute) Gov. Mark Sanford (Argentinian soulmate), Larry Craig (Mr. Wide Stance), John Ensign, Newt Gingrich (3 wives), Rush Limbaugh (four wives) -- the GOP's gift to late-night comedy.

  14. I see that happening too, Longtimevegan.

    No matter which way it goes, the point that is readily apparent is that Senator Ensign is toxic. Anyone, I mean ANYONE, that is close to Senator Ensign will be affected adversely.

    How the mighty fall on their own swords.

  15. ".the GOP's gift to late-night comedy."

    Brilliant!

  16. The FTC and SEC should investigate Allegiant Air to see if the interests of the consumers and stockholders are protected.

    Hopefully Hampton will provide evidence against Ensign and his airline and power company buddies so they can all be jailed.

  17. Whatever happens regarding this incredible situation, there is one fact apparent.

    The Democrats are taking this one.

    This Senate seat, when it becomes available in 2012, belongs to the Democratic Party.

    Why?

    Because the excesses of Senator Ensign defy believe and are beyond any reasonable person to comprehend or even withstand.

    It's over with.

    This Senate post belongs to the Democratic Party.

    There's only so much we can put up with.

    Senator Ensign, someone who was considered to be eventually groomed not only for Republican Party fund raising on a national level, but also supposedly hand picked to become the definitive Republican Party candidate future candidate for President, is pretty much a bust, complete morally bankrupt and definitely a proven degenerate.

    I actually am amazed that he is not being prosecuted for...something. Being stupid or something criminal. Take your pick.

    Whatever comes from it, it's a win for the Democratic Party.

    Because the Republicans blew it. Completely.