July 26, 2010

Ensign emails handed over to investigators

The "drip drip drip" of the Ensign scandal turned into a slow trickle last week as Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) handed emails over to investigators looking into Ensign's role in securing a lobbying job for former aide Doug Hampton:

Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) has turned over e-mails to federal authorities investigating Sen. John Ensign’s extramarital affair with a campaign aide, the latest sign that the criminal probe into the embattled Nevada Republican is picking up steam.

Coburn told POLITICO that he is cooperating with the Justice Department in the investigation of Ensign, and says he’s willing to submit himself to an interview with the FBI or Senate Select Committee on Ethics, which is conducting a parallel investigation into whether Ensign broke Senate rules.

"We’ve given them everything they wanted," Coburn said, referring to the Justice Department.

One area of interest for investigators is Ensign's role in securing a meeting between Allegiant Air -- one of Hampton's clients and whose CEO is a big financial backer of Ensign -- and Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood. If it is shown that Ensign helped arrange meetings for his aide-turned-lobbyist it could be a violation of federal "cooling-off" restrictions.

We'll be sure to let you know how it turns out.