The adulterous, "family values" conservative Republican senator who went public with his extramarital affair after he was blackmailed will resign. Nevada Sen. John Ensign announced he will resign his seat on May 3, due to the Ethics Committee investigation over his affair with a former campaign aide.
"It is with tremendous sadness that I officially hand over the Senate seat that I have held for eleven years,” said Ensign. "The turbulence of these last few years is greatly surpassed by the incredible privilege that I feel to have been entrusted to serve the people of Nevada. I can honestly say that being a United States Senator has been the honor of my life."
The senator, who has served since January 2001, was a rising star in the party when he admitted to an extramarital affair in 2009. His parents reportedly wrote a $96,000 check to his former mistress and her family, leading to an investigation by the Federal Election Commission, which was later dismissed. It was later revealed that Ensign may have violated Senate ethics rules by arranging for his former mistress's husband to take a job as a lobbyist with a Nevada consulting firm in an attempt to hush the matter up.
Adds the Los Angeles Times: "The decision now to resign with more than 20 months left in his term would spare him prosecution by the Senate Ethics Committee, which in February named a special counsel to investigate potential violations of ethics rules and federal law."
In the 1990s, Ensign blasted former President Bill Clinton and demanded his resignation in the Monica Lewinsky affair. The "staunch Christian conservative" also voted for the proposed federal marriage amendment during the Bush Administration. In 2010, Ensign reversed his support for "Don't Ask Don't Tell" and voted for repeal.
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