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Heard on the Hill: Ethics Crack(er) Down

There’s plenty of meaty stuff in the report that the Senate Ethics Committee released last week on former Sen. John Ensign’s affair with a staffer’s wife.

But there’s also something wheaty and whole-grained, too, and it’s HOH’s nominee for oddest detail: The report describes the Nevada Republican chowing down on a box of Wheat Thins during a confrontation over the affair.

After Ensign got a job for former aide Doug Hampton (with whose wife he was having the affair), the owner of the company that hired Hampton found out about the cheating and came to talk to the Senator about it. The report states that Mike Slanker, who hired Hampton to work at his company, November Inc., said Ensign “was eating Wheat Thins one at a time, kind of tossing them into his mouth, and he didn’t seem to miss a beat.”

We wondered whether the cracker brand thought that having a philandering, ethics-rule violator eating one’s product was a bad form of product placement — or whether the snack-food industry subscribes to the maxim that no press is bad press.

Alas, Kraft Foods, the parent company of Nabisco, which makes the crackers, gave HOH the old “no comment” treatment.

And we can’t help but wonder which of the ten Wheat Thins flavors on the market Ensign prefers. Perhaps a multigrain (he is health-conscious, we know) or a fancy sun-dried tomato and basil?

For all its specificity, the ethics report doesn’t say. 

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