Former Pennsylvania Senator and 2012 presidential hopeful Rick Santorum is only the latest in a string of prominent right-leaning public figures named in the scandal surrounding Senator John Ensign’s affair with the wife of a top aide.
Senator Tom Coburn, Ensign’s parents, Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly, and even a director of the National Prayer breakfast all have roles in the messy, unfolding story that has resulted in Ensign’s resignation May 3 and a scathing report by the Senate ethics committee. The results of the committee’s investigation have been forwarded to the Justice Department with a possibility of criminal charges being brought against the former Nevada Senator.
Ensign was set to testify under oath May 4 about his relationship with Cynthia Hampton, wife of aide Doug Hampton and the $96,000 payment made by Ensign’s parents to the Hampton family as hush money. On June 11 of 2009, Mr. Hampton wrote a letter to Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly revealing the affair and seeking a meeting about breaking the story. On June 15, Hampton emailed the letter to Rick Santorum in an attempt to enlist his aid.
Santorum emailed Ensign that evening to warn him that Hampton was about to go public. Ensign and his staff immediately called an emergency meeting that lasted until 3:00am. At the time, Santorum didn’t know Hampton, but Ensign had been a colleague in the Senate. Santorum moved to give his fellow lawmaker advance warning of Hampton’s revelations, but it’s unclear whether this constitutes any actual wrongdoing.
Ensign’s farewell speech and press conference May 3 was unattended by his Senate colleagues.