Entries in Senate Ethics Committee (4)


Ethics Committee Calls Ensign Resignation 'Appropriate;' Investigation Continues

Scott J. Ferrell/Congressional Quarterly/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The bipartisan Senate Ethics Committee released a statement Thursday on the impending resignation of Sen. John Ensign, R-Nev., early next month.

The statement, issued from committee co-chairs Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., and Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., says that Ensign “made the appropriate decision” in resigning. But it also suggests that the Committee, which has been investigating him for 22 months, would continue and complete its work. The conventional wisdom is that once a member resigns, investigations stop. Apparently not in this case.
The full statement reads, “The Senate Ethics Committee has worked diligently for 22 months on this matter and will complete its work in a timely fashion. Senator Ensign has made the appropriate decision.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Nevada Sen. John Ensign to Resign Amid Ethics Investigation

Scott J. Ferrell/Congressional Quarterly/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Sen. John Ensign, R-Nev., will announce Friday that he plans to resign from the Senate in May, according to a statement released by his Senate office.

Ensign announced earlier this year he would not seek re-election for a third term in 2012. His extramarital affair with the wife of his former top aide was the source of both criminal and ethics investigation. Last December, the Department of Justice dropped its investigation related to payments he made to his former staffer. He is, however, still a subject of a Senate Ethics Committee investigation. Ensign's statement Thursday night makes clear that investigation was ongoing and that the committee recently hired an outside counsel. There is a lot of speculation that the timing of his immediate retirement, first reported by Nevada reporter John Ralston, is related to this investigation.

“While I stand behind my firm belief that I have not violated any law, rule, or standard of conduct of the Senate, and I have fought to prove this publicly, I will not continue to subject my family, my constituents, or the Senate to any further rounds of investigation, depositions, drawn out proceedings, or especially public hearings.  For my family and me, this continued personal cost is simply too great," said Ensign in the paper statement.

There is also speculation that Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval will appoint Rep. Dean Heller, R-Nev., for the remainder of Ensign’s term. Heller would have to stand for election in November of 2012. There would also have to be a special election to replace Heller.

There are already at least two Democrats actively running for the Senate seat.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Sen. John Ensign Not Running for Re-Election

Scott J. Ferrell/Congressional Quarterly/Getty Images(RENO, Nev.) -- Sen. John Ensign, R-NV, plans to announce at a news conference Monday in Nevada that he will not run for re-election, a Republican source tells ABC News.

Ensign was facing an uphill campaign after being dogged by controversy in recent years, so his decision to leave the Senate will come as welcome news to the GOP since his re-election prospects appeared poor.

Last month the Senate Ethics Committee appointed a special counsel to handle an investigation into Ensign after allegations that the lawmaker violated Senate rules and federal law. Ensign reportedly had an affair with a former campaign aide who was married to his deputy chief of staff. Last year the Justice Department scrapped a criminal investigation into the Ensign matter, but the Senate Ethics probe remains ongoing.

Ensign will now become the third GOP senator to leave the Senate, after Jon Kyl of Arizona and Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas.

Across the aisle, five Democrats have decided not to run for re-election in 2012 -- a group that includes Kent Conrad of North Dakota, Joe Lieberman of Connecticut, Jeff Bingaman of New Mexico, Daniel Akaka of Hawaii, and Jim Webb of Virginia.

Republicans need a net gain of four seats to wrest control of the Senate from Democrats. However, Democrats have to defend 23 Senate seats compared to only 10 for the GOP.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Ethics Committee Investigating Ensign's Affair With Campaign Aide

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- The Senate Ethics Committee on Tuesday appointed a special counsel to handle the probe of Sen. John Ensign, R-NV, a move that could prove damaging to his already imperiled re-election bid.

The panel's chairman, Sen. Barbara Boxer of California, and top Republican Johnny Isakson of Georgia announced that Carol Elder Bruce will serve as special counsel.

The Senate Ethics panel is currently looking into allegations that Ensign violated Senate rules and federal law. Ensign, who is up for re-election in 2012, had an affair with a former campaign aide who was married to his deputy chief of staff.

"The purpose of a preliminary inquiry is to determine whether there is substantial credible evidence that a violation within the Committee’s jurisdiction has occurred," the Senate panel said in a statement Tuesday.

Last year, the Justice Department scrapped a criminal investigation into the Ensign matter.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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