Ensign Spent $97K on Attorneys Last Quarter

Posted January 20, 2011 at 12:35pm

Sen. John Ensign doled out more than $97,000 from his legal defense fund for attorneys in the final months of 2010, according to his most recent report to the Secretary of the Senate. 

The Nevada Republican has been the subject of multiple investigations into his alleged efforts to cover up an affair with the spouse of his former top aide. Ensign first acknowledged the affair, involving Cynthia Hampton, a campaign staff member married to Doug Hampton, his Washington, D.C., administrative assistant, in June 2009.

Both the Justice Department and the Federal Election Commission declined to pursue Ensign over the allegations in late 2010, but the Senate Ethics Committee has yet to conclude its inquiry. 

Ensign received Senate approval in May to establish a legal defense fund to pay attorney fees stemming from the investigations. 

According to the legal fund’s fourth quarter expense report, Ensign raised nearly $63,000 from October to December from individuals in Nevada. He reported more than $42,000 in cash on hand at the end of September. 

During the same period, Ensign paid more than $97,000 to the law firm Wiley Rein and another $4,000 in accounting fees to the Las Vegas office of Templeton & Templeton.  

The Las Vegas Review-Journal reported in October that Ensign’s re-election committee paid $551,000 in legal fees for himself and his aides in the third quarter of 2010, the most recent Federal Election Commission report available.