Nevada GOP Congressman: ‘Wounded’ Ensign Is ‘Cause For Concern’

April 8, 2010 9:19 a.m.

It looks like Nevada Republicans’ patience with Sen. John Ensign (R-NV), amid the senator’s sex-and-lobbying scandal may be wearing thin.

“The fact we have a wounded junior senator, yeah, it is cause for concern,” Rep. Dean Heller (R-NV) said in a TV interview.“Will it have impact up and down the ticket for Republicans this fall? I think there is the potential for that happening,” Heller added.

And: “I think we need a stronger voice back in Washington, D.C. Clearly, these matters are taking a majority of his time.”

Heller stopped short of calling for Ensign’s resignation, instead declaring: “I think John needs to be more forthcoming on issues he has. He needs to come on this show and other shows and talk about those issues. I think that has caused a lot of his problems.”

Ensign is the subject of a federal grand jury probe into the actions he took in the aftermath of his affair with a top aide’s wife. Investigators are reportedly looking into whether the senator violated lobbying rules or in seeking to line up a lobbying job and clients for the aide, Doug Hampton, after Hampton left Ensign’s office. They may also be looking at whether Ensign improperly created financial transactions in order to avoid disclosing a payment to the Hamptons.

In addition, two former Clark County GOP officials called for Ensign’s resignation in a column today, writing: “We call on all true conservative Republican leaders and activists to speak out now for the resignation of Senator Ensign.”

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