The statement is a response to Doug Hampton's claim that Ensign paid a severance package of over $25,000 to Cindy Hampton when she left his political committee -- which would be a felony violation of campaign finance law if he wasn't reimbursed. A good government group called today for a criminal probe into the matter.
Here's the full statement:
In April 2008, Senator John Ensign's parents each made gifts to Doug Hampton, Cindy Hampton, and two of their children in the form of a check totaling $96,000. Each gift was limited to $12,000. The payments were made as gifts, accepted as gifts and complied with tax rules governing gifts.
After the Senator told his parents about the affair, his parents decided to make the gifts out of concern for the well-being of long-time family friends during a difficult time. The gifts are consistent with a pattern of generosity by the Ensign family to the Hamptons and others.
None of the gifts came from campaign or official funds nor were they related to any campaign or official duties. Senator Ensign has complied with all applicable laws and Senate ethics rules.
Fish & Richardson P.C.
Counsel for Senator John Ensign
Here at TPM, we frequently ask our parents to pay off the families of the people we sleep with, so this seems pretty standard.