Senate panel seeks records in Ensign scandal

LAS VEGAS (AP) - The Senate Ethics Committee is seeking records from a Nevada company concerning U.S. Sen. John Ensign's relationship with former top aide Doug Hampton.

Hampton left the Nevada Republican's staff in April 2008, four months after discovering Ensign was having an affair with his wife, Cindy.

The New York Times has reported that Ensign later helped Hampton find work as a lobbyist for some Nevada companies and that Hampton lobbied Ensign on behalf of his clients.

Hampton told the newspaper that he and Ensign were aware of a ban on Hampton's lobbying his former boss or Ensign's staff, but chose to ignore it.

A spokesman for one of the companies, NV Energy, confirmed it has received a request for information on the matter.

The Senate has little choice but to investigate Ensign further because of Hampton's charges against the senator, said Melanie Sloan, executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington.

Her group filed complaints against Ensign with the Senate, the Justice Department and the Federal Election Commission after Ensign confessed to the extramarital relationship in June.

Sloan said the ethics committee's request for documents suggests the Justice Department has "punted" on its own investigation.


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