MADDOW: We begin with a follow up to Sen. John Ensign’s failed attempt to avoid the media at all costs. You know that Sen. Ensign revealed back in June that he had had an affair with a campaign staffer. A campaign staffer who was married to a man named Doug Hampton. Doug Hampton worked in Sen. Ensign’s senate office. Here was the failed media avoidance indecent.
“I never talked to Doug Hampton about any of that stuff.” The question was Sen. Ensign did you ever meet with Doug Hampton after you got him a lobbying job. “No, I never met with Doug Hampton about any of that stuff.”
What you just saw was CNN’s Dana Bash and her producer confronting John Ensign outside his office in Washington D.C. yesterday. They’re trying to ask the senator this. What was your involvement with Doug Hampton after you convinced companies to hire him as a lobbyist? It’s an important question because former staffers are required by law to wait a year before lobbying their old bosses.
And the answer that Ensign gave in this interview was zilch, nada, none. He said he had no contact with Doug Hampton on any lobbying matters.
“I never met with him on any of that lobbying stuff.” Well the New York Times today looked into the veracity of this statement and they found an uh-oh.
Interviews and documents, however, show that Mr. Ensign had lunch in the Senate dining room in March with Mr. Hampton and executives from Allegiant Air to discuss aviation issues. That lunch took place on the same day that the airline executives, in a meeting arranged by Mr. Ensign, spoke with Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood about a dispute with a foreign carrier and other issues.
Allegiant Air being one of Mr. Hampton’s clients on whose behalf he lobbied.
BASH: Is there anything else that you... are you considering resigning?
ENSIGN: I am focused on doing my work. I'm going to continue to focus on doing my work.
MADDOW: And so too will everyone else senator-- We will all be focusing on your work. Particularly the work we now think you did with your mistress’ husband/former staffer/illegal lobbyist.