As featured on p. 218 of "Bloggers on the Bus," under the name "a MyDD blogger."

Friday, October 02, 2009

Tale Of Two

I try extremely hard not to watch the cable nets anymore, but I'm sure they're going on and on about David Letterman's extortion plot and his revelation of an affair with a former assistant. The plotter was a CBS News employee who lived with the former assistant and found out about the trysts from her diaries. It's unclear whether Letterman was married at the time of the affairs - though probably not. Point being, he immediately came clean and stopped the extortionist, people stray and it's his personal life and all that.

But as long as we're talking about affairs and payoffs and the rest, it should be noted that while Letterman didn't give in to the extortion, John Ensign did, and may have broken multiple laws in the process.

Early last year, Senator John Ensign contacted a small circle of political and corporate supporters back home in Nevada — a casino designer, an airline executive, the head of a utility and several political consultants — seeking work for a close friend and top Washington aide, Douglas Hampton.

“He’s a competent guy, and he’s looking to come back to Nevada. Do you know of anything?” one patron recalled Mr. Ensign asking.

The job pitch left out one salient fact: the senator was having an affair with Mr. Hampton’s wife, Cynthia, a campaign aide. The tumult that the liaison was causing both families prompted Mr. Ensign, a two-term Republican, to try to contain the damage and find a landing spot for Mr. Hampton.

In the coming months, the senator arranged for Mr. Hampton to join a political consulting firm and lined up several donors as his lobbying clients, according to interviews, e-mail messages and other records. Mr. Ensign and his staff then repeatedly intervened on the companies’ behalf with federal agencies, often after urging from Mr. Hampton.

While the affair made national news in June, the role that Mr. Ensign played in assisting Mr. Hampton and helping his clients has not been previously disclosed. Several experts say those activities may have violated an ethics law that bars senior aides from lobbying the Senate for a year after leaving their posts [..]

And Mr. Ensign allowed Senator Tom Coburn, a friend and fellow conservative Christian, to serve as an intermediary with the Hamptons in May in discussing a large financial settlement, to help them rebuild their lives.

This will undoubtedly be the last thing I write about this, but I wonder if that comparison will ever be made by the Sarah Palin acolytes or other Letterman-haters on the right?

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