You Just Can't Make This Stuff Up
THE ENSIGNS AND THE HAMPTONS
You gotta love the John Ensign Saga. First, this born-again Christianist . . . er, Christian reveals that he had been banging Senate campaign aide Cindy Hampton, whose hubbo, Doug, was the Nevada Republican's chief of staff. He also had hired their son for a no-work job.
Anyhow, in the fine tradition of American celebrity adultery, the Hampton's threatened to go public with the story but Ensign tearfully beat them to it.
Now things get really (pronounced Reille, as in the mother of John Edwards' love child) interesting:
* Ensign got his poppy, a gadzillionaire casino magnate, to shell out $96,000 in hush money . . . er, severance payments for the Hamptons.
* Ensign's lawyer somehow kept a straight face when he said the payments were made out of concern for the Hampton's welfare and as part of a "pattern of generosity."
* The payments were made in eight $12,000 increments, which just happens to the maximum amount you can give as a gift without having it report it to the IRS.
* Strange religious fingerprints are all over the scandal, including The Family, a secretive Christian group with whom Ensign and Senator Tom Coburn, among others, are affiliated.
* Coburn (photo, below) is Ensign's roomie at a The Family-owned building called the Prayer House in D.C. and gave his pal some life-coaching, including counseling Ensign to end the affair.
* Coburn, who is a physician (and Ensign a veterinarian), is citing doctor-patient confidentiality in refusing to discuss with anyone -- including the Senate Ethics Committee -- what he said to Ensign.
Which begs a question: Coburn is an ob-gyn, so what the hell was he treating Ensign for?
Ensign, of course, is refusing to resign and he probably shouldn't. After all, it's not like he got a blow job from a White House intern, something that a president by the name of Clinton did. And for which Ensign demanded his resignation.
More here, there and everywhere.