John Ensign Soldiers On

Sen. John Ensign (R-Nev.) | Flickr/<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/trevino/1349844632/sizes/l/">trevino</a> (<a href="http://www.creativecommons.org">Creative Commons</a>).

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Democrats have suffered through their share of bad behavior lately, but honestly, none of it compares to the travails of Republican Sen. John Ensign. I mean, the guy had an affair with his top aide’s wife, paid out hush money in a way plainly intended to skirt IRS reporting rules, and then worked illegally to get his ex-aide some consulting income doing congressional lobbying. “Senator Ensign has stated clearly, he has not violated any law or Senate ethics rule,” says Ensign’s flack, but Ensign can say it as clearly as he wants. The evidence says otherwise.

Today, the New York Times got hold of some emails suggesting pretty clearly that Ensign, who was “a bit rattled” according to one of the messages, intervened with a guy named Bob Andrews, who was trying to get help with some energy projects in Nevada:

According to the documents, Mr. Ensign forwarded the note about the company’s business plans to Mr. Hampton with a message of his own saying: “I think you have played golf with him. This is who I met with.”

That led to a series of meetings between Mr. Hampton and Mr. Andrews about consulting work. “It was my understanding he was in the lobbying business,” Mr. Andrews said of Mr. Hampton. “Being able to lobby our Congressional and senatorial lawmakers was certainly something we were exploring.”

A typical excerpt from one of Hampton’s emails to Ensign is below. How this guy manages to stay in office mystifies me. I guess he must have taken lessons from David Vitter and Mark Sanford.

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Thank you!

We didn't know what to expect when we told you we needed to raise $400,000 before our fiscal year closed on June 30, and we're thrilled to report that our incredible community of readers contributed some $415,000 to help us keep charging as hard as we can during this crazy year.

You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

The months and years ahead won't be easy. Far from it. But there's no one we'd rather face the big challenges with than you, our committed and passionate readers, and our team of fearless reporters who show up every day.

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