Ensign Facing an Ethical Hot Potato, but no Legal Case (Yet)

Ex-lover would have to make accusation
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Jul 15, 2009 10:13 AM CDT
Doug Hampton, a former aide to Sen. John Ensign, is pictured outside his home June 19, 2009, in Las Vegas.    (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – The husband of John Ensign’s ex-mistress has accused the Republican senator of sexual harassment and wrongful termination—but there can be no legal case unless Cindy Hampton herself accuses Ensign of unwanted advances or creating a hostile work environment, experts tell Politico. Thus far, she’s the only one of the three who’s kept quiet. “The harassment claim has to come from the person harassed,” notes a lawyer.

How a lawsuit might go forward is unclear, since the scandal raises an unusually wide range of concerns, from sexual to financial. Meanwhile, an ethics advocacy group says that, even without a legal complaint, there’s enough to justify an investigation by the Federal Election Commission, the Justice Department, and the Senate Ethics Committee over nearly $100,000 given by Ensign’s parents to Cindy Hampton’s family. (Read more John Ensign stories.)