Sen. John Ensign appears headed for a shorter than expected Senate career. Some senators are calling for public ethics hearings into his alleged pay-offs and job interventions to aid the cuckolded husband of the senator’s former mistress. The last time public hearings of this nature were held was during the 1991 Keating Five scandal. Sen. Bob Packwood, who resigned under a somewhat similar cloud, faced calls for public ethics hearings as well. From Politico:
Sen. John Ensign is facing an increasingly uncertain future in the Senate, with a senior Democrat saying that the Nevada Republican should resign if allegations against him are true and other senators mulling the possibility of public hearings into his extramarital affair with a former staffer.
“If it is true that indeed he did make these payoffs and all that kind of stuff, then I would think the honorable thing would be to resign,” Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) said in an interview.…
The bipartisan Senate Ethics Committee is not ruling out holding public hearings in the case, a move that some believe could help drive Ensign from office. A number of senators signaled to POLITICO they’d be supportive of seeing Ensign sit before a public forum to address the allegations, something that has not been done since the Keating Five scandal in 1991.
There’s already a pretty serious FBI investigation into Ensign’s activities and that may preclude public hearings from ever happening. The threat of these hearings combined with the flagging support from his Republican compatriots could lead a senator who can’t raise more than $50 for reelection to reconsider their position in the Senate.