They've got muck; we've got rakes. TPM Muckraker

Hampton: 'Crystal Clear' That Ensign Payment Was Severance


Hampton said it was "crystal clear" that the payment was severance. "I took notes. I've shared those notes. They're well documented. They were clearly what he deemed as severance."

The Ensign camp has described the payment as part of a "pattern of generosity," showed by the Ensign family to the Hamptons.

Hampton ridiculed that claim to ABC. "Pattern of generosity?" he said. "Oh, hey, listen, 'We realize our son's having an affair with your wife, maybe some money will help.' It's ridiculous!"

But could Hampton's public campaign be counter-productive? The Justice Department may be considering a criminal probe of whether Ensign violated campaign-finance law, both with the payment to the Hamptons, and by reportedly arranging for Hampton to lobby his staff after Hampton had left Ensign's employ. But a former DOJ prosecutor told Politico yesterday that by talking to the media, Hampton is making himself less valuable as a potential witness. "Every time [Hampton] speaks, he's seriously undermining his own credibility as a witness and the viability of prosecution. It's just not what you want to have happen from a prosecutorial standpoint."

It probably makes him feel good though.