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HOH’s One-Minute Recess: The Wages of Sin

Sen. John Ensign’s affair with a former staffer could hinder the development of a Kansas casino.

The Kansas City Star reports that the Nevada Republican’s brother, Michael Ensign, is one of two named principals in the proposed Prairie Sky casino that’s planned for about 10 miles south of Wichita, Kan.

[IMGCAP(1)]Michael Ensign is a multimillionaire with plenty of casino experience: He served as chairman of the Mandalay Resort Group, which owned and operated the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino. In 2005, he reportedly made $130 million when he sold Mandalay to MGM Mirage.

But Kansas Lottery officials and state legislators are worried about the role Michael Ensign might have played in the $96,000 in payments that were made to the family of Cynthia Hampton, the campaign aide who had an affair with the Senator.

Those payments have triggered a series of complaints that John Ensign and his parents might have violated federal campaign law and are under investigation by the FBI.

Kansas lottery officials have begun their own investigation, the Star reports. But even if the payments are found to be legal, state legislators in Kansas are worried they might not be ethical.

“The question is, are these the kind of people we want to do business with,— state Rep. Vince Wetta told the newspaper.

A Familiar Story. Sen. Barbara Boxer is scheduled to chat about her latest novel, “Blind Trust,— at 7 p.m. Monday at Politics and Prose.

A sequel to the California Democrat’s first novel, “A Time to Run,— the book follows California Democratic Sen. Ellen Fischer as she chairs intense committee hearings and dodges scandals surrounding her finances.

The similarities between Boxer and Fischer are pretty obvious — both are petite, West Coast liberals. But as Boxer recently told Roll Call’s Tricia Miller, she dreams she could be like her fictional doppelgänger.

“Ellen’s kind of my ideal. I wish I could be like Ellen,— Boxer said.

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