Ensign case about to go public 

Senators are about to take the unusual step of discussing an ethics case on the Senate floor.

Tune into C-Span around 2:30 p.m. Thursday and you will see Senate Ethics Committee Chairwoman Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., and ranking member Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., discussing the investigation they opened into the conduct of former Sen. John Ensign, R-Nev., who resigned recently due to the fallout from an affair he had with a member of his staff.

Senators were investigating whether Ensign broke the rules by helping his former paramour and her husband secure jobs after the affair ended. The Senate decided to proceed with the investigation despite Ensign's departure and even hired a special prosecutor to look into the matter.

It's pretty rare to see lawmakers talk publicly about ethics cases. Sometimes they issue statements at the conclusion of investigations, or more often, they say nothing at all.

The ethics committee has no power to formally punish Ensign now that he's not longer in the Senate but they need to show the public they are policing their own, a likely explanation for the public discussion of the case.

 

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Susan Ferrechio

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