Senate Ethics Report Shows Sen. Tom Coburn Helped John Ensign Cover Up Affair, Negotiate Payoffs
Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma was intimately involved in covering up Nevada Senator John Ensign’s affair, and was involved in negotiating payoffs to the family of the woman involved, according to a Senate ethics report.
Ensign resigned from the Senate earlier this month, but had admitted in 2009 to having an affair with Cynthia Hampton — a past campaign aide and the wife of Doug Hampton. During a two-year inquiry into possible violations by Ensign, the Senate Ethics Committee found that he violated campaign finance laws and obscured justice to cover-up his affair.
Coburn, a friend of Ensign’s who confronted him about the adultery, became involved as an intermediary in negotiations between Ensign and Doug Hampton. The former aide sought money from Ensign in spring 2009. Coburn negotiated the payment to Doug Hampton down from $8 million to about $2.8 million, according to the report.
The Oklahoma Republican’s involvement in the cover-up of the affair could lead to uncomfortable questions for the senator and his party going forward. While Ensign left the Senate hastily last week, Coburn remains an active figure…
When the affair ended, Coburn was part of the “team” that discussed relocating the Hamptons to Colorado and providing them with money for their transition, the report says.
Coburn denied this role to the Ethics Committee.
Coburn denied that he served as a negotiator when he testified for the report, but acknowledged he spoke to Hampton’s attorney, [Daniel] Albregts, in May 2009. The Oklahoma Republican told the Ethics Committee that he was simply planning to pass along information to Ensign.
Coburn denied he worked to broker a deal in a November, 2009 interview with George Stephanopoulos.