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Justice Department Won’t Charge Ensign

Sen. John Ensign announced Wednesday that the Justice Department will not bring charges against him following its investigation of his alleged efforts to cover up an affair with the spouse of his former top aide.

“The Department of Justice has informed us that Senator Ensign is no longer a target of its investigation and that it has no plans to bring any charges against him in this matter,” Ensign attorney Paul Coggins said in a statement. “The Federal Election Commission and the Justice Department have reached the right result on the baseless allegations made against him, and we look forward to the Ethics Committee reaching the same conclusion soon.”

The Justice Department and the Senate Ethics Committee opened separate investigations of the Nevada Republican’s alleged efforts to cover up an affair with campaign aide Cynthia Hampton. She is married to Doug Hampton, who was Ensign’s top personal office aide at the time of the affair. The Hamptons no longer work for Ensign.

The FEC dismissed a complaint in November that accused Ensign of violating campaign finance law over a $96,000 gift his parents provided to the Hampton family.

The Senate Ethics Committee has not announced a conclusion in its investigation into Ensign’s actions as of Wednesday.

“Senator Ensign is certainly pleased that the Department of Justice no longer views him as a target in their investigation, and has long-stated that he acted in accordance with the law,” Ensign spokeswoman Jennifer Cooper said in a statement. “Our office and the Senator have been cooperative with this investigation, and it’s important that the truth in this matter is finally coming to light. It is the Senator’s hope that the Ethics Committee soon follows suit. Senator Ensign looks forward to continuing his hard work on behalf of the people of Nevada.”

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