Sen. John Ensign to resign following sex scandal

Republican Senator John Ensign (AFP Photo / Win McNamee)
Republican Senator John Ensign from Nevada announced his resignation effective May 3 following a long PR battle over a sex scandal involving a former campaign staffer.

The Senator has been under a Senate ethics investigation over whether he violated Senate rules by having an affair with former campaign worker Cindy Hampton. Not only was Hampton a campaign aid, her husband, Doug Hampton, was Ensign’s deputy chief of staff during the time of the affair.

It is with tremendous sadness that I officially hand over the Senate seat that I have held for eleven years,” Ensign said in a prepared statement. “The turbulence of these last few years is greatly surpassed by the incredible privilege that I feel to have been entrusted to serve the people of Nevada. I can honestly say that being a United States Senator has been the honor of my life.”

While I stand behind my firm belief that I have not violated any law, rule, or standard of conduct of the Senate, and I have fought to prove this publicly, I will not continue to subject my family, my constituents, or the Senate to any further rounds of investigation, depositions, drawn out proceedings, or especially public hearings,” Ensign added.

It has been speculated that Ensign opted to step down to avoid a public report from the Senate regarding the findings of the ethics investigation.

Sens. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) who lead the Senate Ethics Committee issued a statement after Ensign’s announcement, explaining they believed the Senator made the right decision.

“[The committee] has worked diligently for 22 months on this matter and will complete its work in a timely fashion. Senator Ensign has made the appropriate decision,” the statement said.