LAS VEGAS (AP) — The Federal Election Commission says former U.S. Sen. John Ensign has agreed to pay a $32,000 civil penalty over a payment made by his parents to his one-time mistress.
While he did not admit to any culpability, the Nevada Republican agreed to pay the fine to settle allegations that he took an illegal campaign contribution from his parents.
His parents, Michael and Sharon Ensign, in 2008 gave $96,000 to Cynthia Hampton, a campaign staffer who at the time was his mistress and the wife of his aide, Douglas Hampton.
The FEC ruled the payment was an undisclosed in-kind campaign contribution that exceeded federal limits because it was a severance rather than a gift. Ensign maintained it was a gift.
Ensign’s parents also were fined $22,000 by the FEC.
Ensign resigned in 2011 before his second term expired amid a Senate Ethics Committee investigation into his actions.