Yet another Republican family values freaky-deac(on).
One of Ensign’s roommates, Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, was described by Hampton as being particularly vocal about the importance of cash contributions to “make these folks whole.” Coburn denies this, although he won’t say exactly what advice he gave to his erring colleague. Coburn told Roll Call that he talked to Ensign as a “physician and as an ordained deacon” and that he will therefore have the right to keep mum even if he’s dragged into court or a Senate committee hearing.
This makes me sort of hope that some kind of investigation takes place just so Coburn, who’s an obstetrician, can explain how exactly doctor-patient confidentiality figures into this.
We hardly need to point out that Ensign was one of the people who demanded that President Bill Clinton resign over the Lewinsky affair, that he votes against financing for education and contraception services to combat teenage pregnancy and that he supports a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. In the world of politics, hypocrisy is a hard market to corner, but lately the Republicans have been making a Microsoft-like effort to do it.
Both of the Hamptons lost their jobs, and Doug was shuttled off to a Las Vegas-based airline, run by a friend of Ensign’s, where he is now vice president of government affairs. Unappeased, he hired a lawyer to demand that Ensign make financial amends for “evil and completely unjustifiable acts by one of our country’s top leaders.” He also tried to leak the story of the affair to Fox News, apparently under the theory that out of all the media, Fox would be most excited by the opportunity to humiliate a powerful conservative Republican senator.
[Click to continue reading Gail Collins – What Happened in Vegas – NYTimes.com]
Also, the payoff was a very precise number of dollars: $96,000, or as The Washington Monthly puts it:
$96,000 is a lot of money. Interestingly, it is precisely the amount you can give as a gift without having to report it to the IRS, multiplied by eight: one gift of $12,000 from each parent to Ensign’s lover, her husband, and two of their children. I wonder what the IRS will make of that? I certainly hope that neither of the parents has made use of their children’s money, or done anything else to suggest that this was all one big gift split up to avoid paying gift tax, or (more likely) having to report the gift. It’s bad enough asking your parents to cough up $96,000 to cover up your indiscretions; asking them to violate the tax code and risk prison is a whole lot worse.
[Click to continue reading: The Washington Monthly – O, What A Tangled Web We Weave]
Strange concept that, neatly avoiding investigation by the IRS by having your parents pay off your mistress, and her family. Hope there wasn’t any money laundering going on.