Ensign's mistress' salary doubled during affair

More trouble for the Nevada senator, who recently admitted an affair with a married staffer

By Alex Koppelman

Published June 18, 2009 3:45PM (EDT)

By itself, the revelation of Nevada Republican Sen. John Ensign's affair would probably have been out of the news by now. Sex scandals are passé in the political world these days. But now there's money involved, too.

There were already rumors that blackmail was involved in Ensign's sudden disclosure, but a report from the Las Vegas Sun could pose more trouble for the senator. The paper reports that Ensign's mistress, Cynthia Hampton, saw her salary for working at his political action committee double during their affair, going from about $1,400 per month to almost $2,800 in 2008 until she left the PAC not long thereafter.

Potentially further complicating matters, Hampton's husband Doug, who worked in Ensign's Senate office, got a $19,679 payment just before he stopped working there. He'd been making about $160,000 a year, the Sun reports. (That payment could be completely normal, it's important to note -- a severance package, for instance, or compensation for accrued leave.)

And the Hamptons' son Brandon, was getting some money too. At 19, he was paid $5,400 for "research policy consulting" by the National Republican Senatorial Committee, which Ensign chaired at the time.

Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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