October 7th, 2009
06:00 PM ET

Why hasn't Sen. John Ensign resigned?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Republican Senator John Ensign of Nevada is just another example of what's wrong with Congress. Ensign tells CNN he didn't break Senate ethics rules... when he helped get a lobbying job for the husband of his mistress. Ensign claims he was very careful and merely "recommended" this man for a job like he's recommended a lot of other people.

Sen. John Ensign (R-NV) speaks during a mark up hearing before the Senate Finance Committee on Capitol Hill.

But the New York Times recently reported that the senator played an active role in getting the lobbying position for Doug Hampton - whose wife he was sleeping with. And - that Hampton went on to lobby Ensign on behalf of his clients - which he's not supposed to do. Ethics rules bar him from lobbying his old boss for a year after leaving his job on Capitol Hill.

But this slime ball senator insists he did nothing wrong here. Senator, it's ALL wrong. When asked if he has any plans to resign - Ensign says: "I am focused on doing my work."

Now the Senate Ethics Committee (which is an oxymoron) has started a preliminary investigation... which, if history is any judge, is meaningless. They won't do anything... they never do when judging one of their own. The whole thing is a joke and shows the impunity with which these arrogant elected scumbags operate.

Meanwhile Republicans in Nevada and Washington say Ensign can survive this thing politically - unless he really gets slammed by the Ethics committee - or if the situation is referred for a criminal investigation. Don't hold your breath.

Here’s my question to you: In light of ethics revelations about Sen. John Ensign, why hasn’t he resigned?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

Judy writes:
There's no reason for him to resign. The Senate is filled to capacity with people of little honesty, character or integrity. They take care of their own. Sickening, isn't it?

Art writes:
Ensign should resign right after Charlie Rangel resigns.

Donald from Canton, North Carolina writes:
The real question should be: why has it taken this long to start a preliminary investigation? He should have already resigned and been forced out along with Craig and Vitter. The Senate is gutless and has no honor among them.

Kate from Florida writes:
Because as a member of "The Family" he believes he is among "The Chosen Few," hand-picked by God himself to be in government. He thinks of himself as a modern day version of King David, just like that knucklehead in South Carolina.

Craig from Orange City, Florida writes:
Jack, I'm hoping we will see him and Charlie Rangel at the depot soon. Actually, if we hold the train up a bit longer we could fill it and send half of the Congress packing. What an embarrassment to the nation. But we deserve it, we keep voting these slugs back into office.

Victor writes:
It seems to me we have leaders who now snub ethics, thinking “As long as I can get away with it, who cares what you think?”

Bob from Newbury, Massachusetts writes:
The GOP stands by Ensign. The Democrats stand by Charlie Rangel. Ethics are in the eye of the beholder.

Bob writes:
Why should he resign? He has a great gig. Great health plan, good pension plan, no accountability, no deliverables, great pay above and below the table. Resign? Wish I had his job. We the people are the idiots. Why keep these guys in office?

Filed under: Scandals • Senate
soundoff (37 Responses)
  1. Rob in NC

    Because he doesn't have to. These guys cover for each other all the time. I doubt he could get kicked out if he killed someone. They do whatever it takes to stay in office and to help each other stay there as well. Rob in NC

    October 7, 2009 at 5:30 pm |
  2. Robert Brewer

    Jack –

    Christ said, "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone." Do not judge Ensign too harshly on the private level. I feel sorry for his family. His personal issues are just that – personal. But the ethics issues are legal ones. If he broke the law, it will not go away. Ensign will be finished in Nevada.

    Bob from Las Vegas Nevada

    October 7, 2009 at 5:31 pm |
  3. Kentucky

    that is what i want to know, jack. yet, the gop have a resolution against rangel

    October 7, 2009 at 5:32 pm |
  4. Donna - Arlington, TX

    This current group of GOP congressman/senators are a bunch of dumb-dumb arrogant idiots. Just looking at a lot of the comments that have been made, behavior and the flaming hypocrisy, all you can do is hang your head in embarassment that you may have voted for some of these people. Is this the best we can do in electing government officials to serve the best interest of the people of this country, instead of just themselves. Why should he resign when he knows all he has to do is to continue to lay low and he will survive it. Vitter is still in; so is Charlie Rangel.

    The worst part of this is that I bet none of his peers can really criticize him. What's hiding in their closet?

    October 7, 2009 at 5:33 pm |
  5. Tyler

    Why should he? Just because the New York times said he did something wrong? Just because a newspaper reported events in their own slanted view doesn't mean hes guilty of any wrong doing. However Jack I love how you even bothered to ask this question because its clear how you feel about Sen. Ensign, "But this slime ball senator insists he did nothing wrong here."

    October 7, 2009 at 5:34 pm |
  6. Philip Oliver Holz

    Because he's a Republican. And they are above the law.

    October 7, 2009 at 5:35 pm |
  7. Mary in Haverhill MA

    He suffers from Sanford Syndrome and the list of those afflicted grows and grows.

    October 7, 2009 at 5:36 pm |
  8. Tom Howard

    He hasn't resigned because like most neocon Rethuglicans he can't spell ethics or integrity, let alone observe them.

    October 7, 2009 at 5:36 pm |
  9. sandee in Portland, Or

    He hasn't resigned for the same reason as all the other politicians that have done wrong. If he resigns, all those wonderful perks will go away. This is but another reason why there should be term limits on all elected politicians. If they can't stay in office longer than 4 to 8 years, they just might work for the good of our country and it's people rather than for their own interests.

    October 7, 2009 at 5:36 pm |
  10. Don in Grand Rapids, Mi

    Jack, If he sould go for this then Charly Rangle should be the 1st to be sent packing for al his shady, crooked $$$$$ deals!

    October 7, 2009 at 5:37 pm |
  11. Rick McDaniel / Lewisville, TX

    For the same reason Clinton didn't resign......because he likely can get away with it.

    The corruption in congress is really quite extensive.

    October 7, 2009 at 5:38 pm |
  12. mark pribble Anna Illinois

    I wish he would but he wont. If he resigned then all the corrupt politicians should resign, and if that were to take place then Washington D.C. would be a big empty city, we can only hope.

    October 7, 2009 at 5:40 pm |
  13. Steve Canada

    Why should he..YOU voted him in..I would bet he will get re-elected..No consequences at all for his actionx, none whatsoever..And that other idiot that negotiated a hush money deal on his behalf, and claimed he was counselling him as his pastor, or physician or whatever. Smart money says he will be back also...Incredible..

    October 7, 2009 at 6:03 pm |
  14. Judy

    There's no reason for him to resign.
    The senate is filled to capacity with people of little honesty, character or integrity.
    They take care of their own.
    Sickening, isn't it?

    October 7, 2009 at 6:03 pm |
  15. Jackie

    The reason he hasn't resigned is because he, like so many other politicians, feel that the rules are for "others". Too many of our politicians are morallly corrupt and feel that only the peons need to follow the rules of law.

    October 7, 2009 at 6:04 pm |
  16. Rob2 Pensacola

    Because the repubs are arrogant and think that they can do no wrong.
    We as a country needs to hold our elected official more accountable. This is an outrage and needs to put in check. Recent democrats have resigned for being accused of far less.

    October 7, 2009 at 6:05 pm |
  17. Kate R in SW Fla

    Because as a member of "The Family" he believes he is among "the Chosen Few," hand picked by God himself to be in Government. He thinks of himself as a modern day version of King Daivid, just like that knucklehead in South Carolina.

    October 7, 2009 at 6:05 pm |
  18. Jeff S

    The real answer is because he doesnt have to. It appears he has no sense of ethics or he would offer his resignation.

    It has nothing in my mind to do with the affair. I view that as a private issue annd one that the voters will have their say on soon enough. I do find it interesting that so many have run on family values but have no qualms about their own breach of these all te while yelling and complaining about others that get caught.

    It has everything to do with pushing for someone who their is clearly a conflict with to get a job and then to have them lobby him. This judgement is fundamentally unsound.

    Its also interesting how different this is from the situation with the Gov in South Carolina where Republicans are lined up to ask him to leave. There it is a similar issue with the question being were dollars used to allow this affair.

    Indiscretions are private. We have no way of understanding what is going on in their lives and how this is occured. For that I give much leeway. We do though have rules about influence, lobbying and when those are broken the honorable thing to do is to resign. I dont even care if he runs again, if the people choose him with those qualities then it is their decision.

    October 7, 2009 at 6:05 pm |
  19. Antonio from Washington D.C.

    In his mind, he doesn't care hat he screwed up, He's like, "I messed up and ya'll just got to deal with it!" "Suck it up"

    October 7, 2009 at 6:05 pm |
  20. Fred Dean Weaver Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

    Republicans think they are God and thet are beyond the law.

    October 7, 2009 at 6:06 pm |

    Ensign has a very big ego and thinks he is above that. The Republicans won't press it as he probably knows a lot of dirt on them. As far as ethics, what did they do about the Republican from Alaska that had several ethics claims about her? They have not done anything about her either. I guess it is who you are or maybe what you know about others.

    October 7, 2009 at 6:08 pm |
  22. cora- hot springs ark

    Well jack I think republicans have a very high pride level, his pride is going to destroy him even more. And they have no shame about what they do, that's very odd.

    October 7, 2009 at 6:09 pm |
  23. Allen in Hartwell GA

    He hasn't resigned because he knows that we don't deserve any better. If we did then we would elect better people.

    October 7, 2009 at 6:11 pm |
  24. j

    just excuse the lobbyist like the president does. simple.

    October 7, 2009 at 6:11 pm |
  25. Cheryl

    One columnist stated that the average representative is extremely stupid. Add arrogant. Now think about the fact that they got elected. What is wrong is the choices we have – not the result.


    October 7, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  26. Bobby

    He hasn't resigned because Nancy Pelosi is his soul-mate. I think.
    Stockton, CA

    October 7, 2009 at 6:13 pm |
  27. david otteson

    He knows that he will get away with it. His goal is to line his pockets as much as he can before he leaves. He will use dirty campains with Hot topic, bible thumping, patriotic gobbldegook, and NEVER answer for his actions.

    October 7, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  28. Ken in NC

    Senator Ensign is not smart enough to realize how stupid he is. He should resign sometime after he is convicted of the violations for which he is going to be charged. On his way out he should stop by the House and pick up Charlie Rangle too and they should both go out together. It's called "Two For The Price Of One".

    October 7, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  29. TJ Tampa

    Let him stay, this is just another republican who cheats on his constituants better than he cheats on his wife.. Poor SOBs conduct will catch up with them and help the Dems.. Let them keep dragging down the GOP ticket.

    October 7, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  30. Sandi

    Probably the same reason Charlie Rangle hasn't resigned. Talk about unethical. There are soo many people unemployed and looking for jobs that I'm sure we can find some very ethical people who would be willing to fill both of these positions.


    October 7, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  31. Bob

    Why should he resign? He has a great gig. Great health plan, good pension plan, no accountability, no deliverables, great pay above and below the table. Resign? Wish I had his job.

    We the people are the idiots. Why keep these guys in office? Oh yea, with the money form lobbyist, how do you get him out and an honest person in. They are all on the take.

    This is crazy! The system must change.

    October 7, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  32. Hlubi, Vegreville AB

    Why hasn't he resigned? Ever tried to pull a pig away from a feeding trough?

    October 7, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  33. cburr

    Both Ensign and Rangel should resign immediately, this is a joke. If John Murtha can funnel over $250 M to an airport that has four commercial flights a day and a few hundred employees why should we think for a minute they will cut from Health Care waste

    Come on!

    October 7, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  34. Rick Wertz

    I'm in no way defending Ensign, however, I have never ever heard you use such harsh language while talking about Rangel's, Jefferson's, Goldschmidt's, Kennedy's or Frank's scandals, just to name a few, but then again, I've never heard you "discuss" their scandals at all.

    October 7, 2009 at 6:19 pm |
  35. cedgar

    Why hasn't Rangel, Dodd or Frank resigned? I personally think all should
    resign, including Ensign. Quite frankly I am sick of all of them! I hope we
    as a nation clean both house's and put officials that follow the Constitution & Bill of Rights.
    Midland Texas

    October 7, 2009 at 6:19 pm |
  36. peggy from Virginia

    ......because he would LOSE his health insurance.....(and that might turn him into one of the "common folk"). Gosh, can you imagine if he were to quit - especially after voting AGAINST any health care reform.! Poor little hypocrite is undoubtedly holdin' on to his plum job for all its worth!

    October 7, 2009 at 6:20 pm |
  37. Kevin Kent

    For the same reason Rangle has not resigned or Geitner has not stepped down. They write the laws, so they don't apply to them...they apply to us

    October 7, 2009 at 6:28 pm |