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Sen. John Ensign Resigns Amid Ethics Scandals

Sen. John Ensign will finally resign from his seat in the Senate effective May 3. Lawrence O'Donnell said this is the kind of thing that generally happens after the Senate Ethics Committee let's them know they're going to recommend
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Sen. John Ensign will finally resign from his seat in the Senate effective May 3. Lawrence O'Donnell said this is the kind of thing that generally happens after the Senate Ethics Committee lets them know they're going to recommend expulsion.

From The Hill -- Sen. Ensign to resign:

"It is with tremendous sadness that I officially hand over the Senate seat that I have held for eleven years," he said in a statement. "The turbulence of these last few years is greatly surpassed by the incredible privilege that I feel to have been entrusted to serve the people of Nevada. I can honestly say that being a United States senator has been the honor of my life."The senator plans to send his resignation letter to Vice President Biden on Friday.

Ensign is under a Senate Ethics Committee investigation over claims he violated ethics rules in the aftermath of an affair with Cynthia Hampton, the wife of former top aide Doug Hampton, whom he helped obtain a lucrative lobbying job.

He cited the investigation in his statement.

"I will not continue to subject my family, my constituents, or the Senate to any further rounds of investigation, depositions, drawn out proceedings, or especially public hearings. For my family and me, this continued personal cost is simply too great," he said.

The committee ramped up its investigation earlier this year, including hiring an outside counsel. The investigation would be dropped, however, if Ensign is no longer a member of the Senate.

The resignation announcement started speculation the committee was closing in the senator. [...]

Rep. Dean Heller (R-Nev.) has already announced he's running for Ensign's seat, and it's possible Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval would appoint him as Ensign's replacement.

If he's appointed, it would give Heller an advantage over Rep. Shelley Berkley (D-Nev.), his likely general election competition.

Berkley was heavily recruited by Democrats to run and is considered the strongest competition to Heller. She quickly won the backing of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.

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