Nevada Sen. John Ensign (R) gave a farewell address on the Senate floor Monday in which he apologized for putting his colleagues in “difficult situations.”
“When one takes on a position of leadership, there is a very real danger of getting caught up in the hype surrounding that status,” the congressman said. “Often times, the more power and prestige a person achieves, the more arrogant a person can become. As easy as it was for me to view this in other people, I was blind to how arrogant and self-centered I had become; I did not recognize that I thought mostly of myself.”
In April, Ensign announced he would resign his seat on May 3 due to a Senate ethics committee investigation over his extramarital affair with a former campaign aide.
“My caution to all my colleagues is to surround yourself with people who will be honest with you about how you really are or what you are becoming, and then make them promise not to hold back no matter how you may try to prevent them from telling you the truth,” he continued.
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.
Ensign, 51, a staunch conservative with a record of strong family-values stances, had vowed to remain in office after describing the affair as “absolutely the worst thing I’ve ever done in my life” at a news conference.
“The purpose of me speaking about this is to humbly show that in life a person understands mercy a lot more when they need it and it is shown to them,” he added.
“To my Senate colleagues, I would like to take a moment to apologize for what you have each gone through as a result of my actions; I know that many of you were put in difficult situations because of me, and for that I sincerely apologize.”
Ensign ended his farewell address by thanking his parents, wife, children and god.