An aide to former Senator John Ensign (R-NV) pled guilty to a misdemeanor violation yesterday, four years after he resigned from his job over a scandal that later forced Ensign to resign from the Senate. Doug Hampton, Ensign’s former administrative assistant, faced charges of violating a law that prohibits congressional aides from lobbying within one year of leaving their jobs. Ensign arranged lobbying contracts for Hampton after pursuing an affair with Hampton’s wife, Cynthia. The scandal, featured on the cover of Ms. Magazine last summer, eventually resulted in a Senate ethics inquiry. Ensign resigned on May 3, 2011, the day before he was scheduled to testify in the ethics hearing.
As Ms. Magazine reported, the affair was unlikely not truly consensual and Ensign continuously pursued Cynthia Hampton until she gave in. According to the article, “The Senate ethics report found ‘substantial credible evidence’ that Ensign’s behavior constituted sexual harassment. It emphasized that Ensign had ‘enormous power’ over [Cynthia] Hampton and her husband, as they were both employed by him, and he ultimately forced them to leave his office because of the sexual relationship.”
Doug Hampton was originally charged with seven felony counts. Under the plea bargain that he accepted yesterday, Hampton is expected not to receive any jail time and will pay a fine of $250 to $5,000.
New York Times 6/7/12; AP 6/7/12; Ms. Magazine Summer 2011