Today, the Federal Election Commission (FEC) dismissed Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington’s (CREW) complaint alleging Sen. Ensign improperly paid former campaign staffer Cynthia Hampton $96,000 in severance without reporting the payment to the FEC. The FEC based its decision on the fact that Sen. Ensign’s parents submitted affidavits declaring they had not intended the money as a severance payment, but instead considered it a gift. The FEC ignored the evidence that the Hamptons themselves considered the payment to be severance, including Mr. Hampton’s contemporaneous notes from conversations he had in which he had referred to the payments as severance.
CREW executive director Melanie Sloan stated, “As usual, when confronted with evidence of campaign finance violations, the FEC did exactly nothing. Luckily for the American people, this matter remains under investigation by the Department of Justice and the Senate Ethics Committee, so there is still a chance for Sen. Ensign to be held accountable for his outrageous and likely illegal conduct.”
Click here to read the FEC’s letter of dismissal.
Click here to read the original complaint, from June 24, 2009.