When Sen. John Ensign’s housemates on C Street found out about his affair with the wife of an aide, they burst into his room and woke him up to stage an intervention.
Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK), a fellow C-streeter, had found out about the affair weeks earlier and confronted Ensign, according to the New Yorker, which is out with a long story about Ensign (R-NV), the C-Street House, and the Fellowship.
After the confrontation, which was “filled with recrimination and tears,” Coburn had Ensign write the now-infamous letter to his mistress, Cindy Hampton (also an aide). Three ministers then drove Ensign to a FedEx box to deliver it. That, however, didn’t end the affair.
And so, according to the New Yorker, Coburn told a handful of fellow Congressman at C Street’s weekly dinner about the transgression.
Coburn, the senior man in the house, enjoyed these sessions, but at dinner that Tuesday night in 2008 he was plainly troubled. Finally, he spoke out. “Guys,” he said, “we’ve got a problem in the house.”
Coburn’s group lingered until well after the men in the adjoining dining room, including Ensign, had said their benediction and dispersed. Ensign had gone to his room, at the far end of the basement. At last, Steve Largent, a former Republican congressman and N.F.L. star—and one of the original C Street residents—spoke up. “Let’s go wake him up, right now,” he said.
Coburn, Largent, [Rep. Bart] Stupak, [Rep. Zach] Wamp, [Rep. Mike] Doyle, and [minister Marty]Sherman went downstairs and roused Ensign. This second intervention ended with Ensign sitting at the foot of his bed, weeping. “You’re right,” he told his friends. “I’m going to end this craziness.”
The New Yorker piece also has loads of great details about the Fellowship, the secretive Christian organization that owns the C Street House and has the ear of some of the country’s most powerful leaders.
For example: Since the C Street scandals (Ensign, S.C. Gov. Mark Sanford, former Rep. Chip Pickering), the Fellowship is considering becoming more transparent. From the piece:
“A Web site has been designed, and is scheduled to be launched this month.”