Republican Senator John Ensign of Nevada has announced he will resign, effective on May 3rd.
The 53-year-old senator, elected in 2000, had already announced he would not run for re-election in 2012. Fox News reports that Representative Dean Heller, already the leading candidate to replace Ensign in the next election, “is likely to be appointed as his successor” by Republican governor Brian Sandoval.
Ensign is under investigation by a special counsel of the Senate Ethics Committee for various favors he performed on behalf of Doug Hampton his mistress’ husband, including “a nearly $100,000 payment to them, arranging lobbying work for Doug Hampton, and possibly meeting with Doug Hampton on a lobbying matter in violation of Senate rules.” Ensign publicly admitted the affair with Doug Hampton’s wife Cindy in 2009.
The Senator claims he had already been told by the Justice Department that he would not be indicted, but he says the Senate Ethics Committee investigation was too much for him to bear. “I will not continue to subject my family, my constituents, or the Senate to any further rounds of investigation, depositions, drawn out proceedings, or especially public hearings,” he said in a statement. “For my family and me, this continued personal cost is simply too great.”
Ensign still maintains he did nothing illegal. (He’s obviously way past the point of claiming he did nothing wrong.) “While I stand behind my firm belief that I have not violated any law, rule, or standard of conduct of the Senate, and I have fought to prove this publicly, I will not continue to subject my family, my constituents, or the Senate to any further rounds of investigation, depositions, drawn out proceedings, or especially public hearings. For my family and me, this continued personal cost is simply too great,” his resignation announcement declares.