The Senate Ethics committee’s investigation of the John Ensign sex-and-lobbying scandal is in full swing.
Investigators for the panel were holed up in a Las Vegas hotel yesterday, where they interviewed several key figures in the case, KLAS-TV reports. A woman “who looks just like” Cynthia Hampton, Ensign’s former mistress, was seen entering the hotel, accompanied by her husband’s lawyer, Dan Albregts, says the station. She stayed for two hours.
Nevada GOP strategist Sig Rogich, and his top aide, Chris Cole, told the station they were asked about Ensign’s efforts to get them to his hire Doug Hampton, after Hampton had left Ensign’s office in the wake of the senator’s affair with his wife.
Also interviewed were Billy Vassiliadis and Pete Ernaut, the founders of R&R Partners, a Nevada lobbying and PR firm, and executives from several Nevada pay-card companies, including Derek LaFavor of Fitech and Jim Hammer of Pay Card USA. Several of those people had already received subpoenas from the Justice Department, which is conducting its own investigation.
At issue in both probes is whether Ensign, a Nevada Republican violated lobbying rules by trying to set Doug Hampton up as a lobbyist after the affair caused Hampton to leave Ensign’s office. The Justice Department also may be considering whether Ensign tied the promise of legislative favors to campaign contributions to the NRSC, which he chaired at the time.