Las Vegas Sun

November 24, 2014

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Christian lawmakers confronted Ensign

WASHINGTON - More details are emerging today about the confrontation between Republican Sen. John Ensign and his peers from his Christian home on Capitol Hill over his affair.

Former Rep. Steve Largent, who was involved in the discussion, told the Tulsa World that he and other peers intervened because Ensign was "wandering off the reservation."

Largent said that while the men at the home give one another license to keep each other in line, the direct confrontation of a lawmaker was unusual.

Largent, a former Republican congressman from Oklahoma no longer lives at the C Street house but remains close to his colleagues, attending weekly dinner and counseling sessions, he told the paper.

Largent disputed claims from the woman's husband, Doug Hampton, that it was suggested a payment be made as restitution to the woman. Cynthia Hampton was Ensign's campaign treasurer at the time, and her husband, Doug Hampton, was one of Ensign's top aides.

Largent said Doug Hampton was not present for the confrontation and that Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn, who arranged the meeting, did not suggest any payment as Doug Hampton has said.

"I think learning of the money situation was a shock to everybody," Largent told the paper. He represented Oklahoma in Congress from 1994 until 2002.

According to the Tulsa World:

Largent said the confrontation with Ensign grew out of an understanding among a number of lawmakers who live in a townhouse near the U.S. Capitol....

"We are all very good friends. He (Ensign) was wandering off the reservation," he explained. "Our feeling is that if anybody does that and does it willfully that we are asking them not to live at C Street anymore."

Largent said each of the men who live in the house has given others "license" to confront each other if "there's something going on that shouldn't be going in someone's life."

Still, he conceded the confrontation with Ensign was unusual.

"In my perspective, particularly in this environment when you are talking about members of Congress, guys in office just don't get confronted that often, particularly by their peers," Largent said.

He said the group who confronted Ensign left unsure of its impact but eventually the meeting produced a "good result."

Largent said the goal was to persuade Ensign to end the affair and allow his family to repair itself.

The full story is here.

Largent's comments dispute those Doug Hamton told Las Vegas Sun columnist Jon Ralston last week in an exclusive interview.

Doug Hampton said that Coburn suggested a payment to the family as restitution.

Coburn has confirmed he was at the February 2008 intervention, but strongly denied he suggested a payment, saying he only counseled Ensign to end the affair and repair the damage.

Ensign has since disclosed his parents paid the family $96,000 in April 2008 around the time Cynthia and Dough Hampton stopped working for the senator.

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