The sex is looking like the least interesting aspect of the John Ensign story.
Ensign’s camp has confirmed to the Associated Press that the Nevada senator helped Doug Hampton, his old friend and the husband of his girlfriend, to get a job after the affair ended and Hampton left Ensign’s office.
“Just as he has done for many other staff members, Senator Ensign made recommendation calls for Mr. Hampton,” a spokesman told the AP in a statement.
Hampton works as a vice president for government affairs for Allegiant Air, a company whose CEO is a major Ensign backer, as we’ve reported. Hampton’s son Bandon also now works for Allegiant, as we reported as well.
Hampton has also worked since leaving Ensign’s office for November Inc., a Nevada political consulting firm with close ties to the senator. Mike Slanker, the firm’s founder — who, as we reported, ran Ensign’s Senate campaigns in 1998 and 2000 — told the AP that Ensign “was supportive, but there was no pressure” on the decision to hire Hampton. Slanker said Hampton worked for the company from May 2008 — the month he left Ensign’s office — to August 2008.
The AP puts the significance of all this nicely:
Doug Hampton’s easy transition from the political to corporate worlds isn’t unusual. It does, however, raise questions about to what extent Ensign used his influence to assist two former employees who could have done damage to his career.