Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Ensign-gate Continued...

It just keeps getting weirder and weirder.

E-mails obtained Monday by Las Vegas Sun columnist Jon Ralston show that Ensign’s top staff at the National Republican Senatorial Committee knew of the affair last summer, before the party suffered severe losses in the 2008 election that put Democrats in sight of a filibuster-proof Senate. [...]

Even as it was disclosed last month that the senator’s parents gave $96,000 last year to the family of the woman, Ensign’s colleagues were reluctant to connect any dots stemming from the affair to the party’s losses.

Ensign in June admitted to having an affair with the former staffer, Cynthia Hampton, from December 2007 to August 2008. Her husband, Doug Hampton, had been one of the senator’s top aides and one of the senator’s best friends.

The new e-mails show in emotional detail the strain those involved faced.

Ensign’s top staff members at the campaign committee were Mike and Lindsey Slanker, the husband-wife team that also runs the Nevada-based consulting firm November Inc.

Mike Slanker worked as the national senatorial committee’s political director during the 2008 election cycle, and Lindsey Slanker was the national committee’s financial director at the time.

The senator had been confronted about the affair by peers at the Christian C Street home he shares in Washington, and the Hamptons stopped working for the senator in April 2008. Ensign helped Doug Hampton get a job with November Inc. [...]

One e-mail exchange dated July 10, 2008, between Mike Slanker and Doug Hampton with the subject line “hey man” shows the men discussing the tension between their families and in the work environment.

“While we can’t possibly understand what you must be going through, we struggle with being in the cross-hairs,” Mike Slanker wrote. “We are happy to give Cindy space if that helps things ... If our relationship with John makes that more difficult then we won’t pressure her to spend time with us.”

Another e-mail that day from Lindsey Slanker to Cynthia Hampton further discusses the effect the situation has had on their friendship.

“I feel like since the moment the entire truth came out I have tried to be nothing but a friend ... whether by listening, giving you a place to stay, or by leaving you alone,” Lindsey Slanker wrote.

Mike Slanker had previously told the Associated Press he was unaware of the affair.

Will Ensign just resign already? Or does he really want to go down in flames in 2012?

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