Monday, May 30, 2011

Philandering Senator Resigned, But His Bagman Remains Defiant

Earlier this month, the Senate Ethics Committee released its preliminary report on the tawdry John Ensign affair, as in matter, or issue, which was, of course, about Sen. John Ensign's (R-NV) affair, as in adulterous sex scandal. Ensign resigned days before the committee released its report and referred criminal charges to the Department of Justice, but his henchman and bagman, Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) isn't in the clear yet, either.

The watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, who clearly have a tough and very, very long row to hoe, has filed a complaint with the Ethics Committee against Coburn, as they seek to shine a light on his role in the Ensign affair, matter, issue. CREW filed the original complaint that brought down Ensign. Well, technically, Ensign's behavior brought down Ensign, but CREW did help bring it folks' attention.

Coburn, for his part, brushed off the numerous report references to his part in the Ensign affair, matter, issue, telling C-Span, the Washington Post, and anyone else who'd listen that he was "proud of what I did and the way I did it," which, according to Coburn, wasn't what the Senate Ethics Committee reported he did. The report's findings, Coburn claimed, were a, "totally inaccurate characterization of what happened."

Days after the Ethics Committee report came out, Coburn stepped down as one of the "Gang of Six" Senators who had been trying to negotiate a budget compromise. Talking to Democrats was bad enough, but with the report out, Coburn might have wanted to open up some space on his calendar.

The particulars of the Ensign affair, matter, issue, were widely reported at the time, as were the details of his affair, sleazy adulterous scandal, philandering. OK, one more time:

Ensign and Coburn were, in 2008, roomies at a Washington, D.C. townhouse at 133 C Street SE, which was owned by a Christian group known as The Fellowship. The Fellowship, based across the river in Alexandria, VA, runs the house to help out like-minded pols The Fellowship believes were chosen by Jesus to lead the world, and bring Christian values to a wider audience. There were regular prayer meetings and spiritual advisers on hand, and lots of pols swung by. Turns out former Gov. Mark Sanford of shacking-up-with-an-Argentine-woman-while-supposedly-hiking-in-the-Appalachians fame also lived there when he was a legislator, as had former Rep. Chip Pickering (R-MS), who suffered the ignominy of having his wife sue his mistress. Perhaps those Bible groups focused too much on fire and not enough on brimstone.

Jim DeMint (R-SC) and Sam Brownback (R-KS) also caught some z's at the house, so, as not everyone who's stayed there's become famous for having his fly in somebody's ointment, "den of inequity" is probably a little strong. Or not.

Ensign was playing disgusting games of hide-the-salami with Cindy Hampton, the wife of Ensign's friend and aide, Doug Hampton. Ensign's friends tried a couple of times to convince Ensign to end the affair, screwing around, philandering, but failed. Coburn was apparently one of those friends. Later, they tried to get Ensign's father to talk to his boy. Hampton confronted Ensign, somehow got $96,000 from Ensign's father, and quit working for the Senator. Later, Hampton, struggling to make ends meet with $96,000, set himself up as a lobbyist and told The New York Times the Senator sent him clients. Ensign admitted he did help Hampton get clients, and helped those clients get what they wanted, but not because there was any quid pro quo.

In the midst of this affair, issue, matter, Coburn was said to have acted as a go-between negotiating the price for Hampton's silence about Ensign's affair, philandering, adultery. Tim Coe, a "spiritual advisor" for The Fellowship, told the Ethics Committee that Coburn had approached Michael Hampton, John's dad, about getting his son to end the affair, running around, playing doctor. Daniel Albregts, Hampton's attorney, said Coburn was instrumental in negotiations between the Hamptons and Ensign over how much Ensign should fork over to buy the Hampton's house, so the dishonored couple could go somewhere and start over in peace, hopefully with about $8 million to lessen the blow.

Coburn told Senate investigators that he hadn't been a "negotiator." When the proverbial fecal matter struck the allegorical fan, Coburn at first declared that, as a physician and church deacon, his lips were sealed to everyone, including the Ethics Committee. Then, the FBI knocked on his door, and he threw Ensign under the metaphorical bus, which he filled with all his very real emails, notes, drawings, squiggles, pie charts and glossy 8x10 graphics with lines and arrows and circles in various bright colors.

Coburn's various assertions vary widely from other eyewitness testimony in the Ethics Committee report, so, like Lucy did when Ricky came home, Coburn still has some 'splainin' to do.

GOP Presidential hopeful Rick Santorum was also a roomie at 133 C Street SE, and CREW thinks he has some 'splainin' to do too, but that'll have to wait until some other, much more excruciatingly bad time for Santorum, to be revealed.

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