Sen. Ensign's ex-aide indicted over lobbying

Nevada Senator John Ensign admitted on June 16, 2009, that he had an extramarital affair with a woman who was a member of his campaign staff. A spokesman said the affair took place between December 2007 and August 2008 with a campaign staffer who was married to an employee in Ensign's Senate office. The day after the announcement, he resigned from his position as chairman of the Republican Senate Policy Committee. AP Photo/Isaac Brekken

Nevada Sen. John Ensign's former administrative assistant was indicted Thursday for allegedly violating criminal conflict of interest laws.

Douglas Hampton is charged with illegally lobbying the senator's staff on behalf of a Las Vegas airline company and an energy company. Hampton's wife had an affair with Ensign that has sidetracked the Republican senator's political career. Ensign announced this month that he would not seek a third term.

Federal law prohibits a former senior Senate aide from lobbying the Senate for one year after terminating employment.

When Hampton found out about the affair between his wife, Cynthia, and the senator, Ensign helped line up jobs for Hampton with campaign donors.

Ensign has said the affair with Cynthia Hampton began during a rocky time in his marriage in December 2007 and continued until August 2008. Cynthia and Doug Hampton left their jobs with Ensign in May 2008.

According to the indictment, Hampton lobbied on behalf of a low-cost airline carrier in Las Vegas, Allegiant Air, and for the largest electricity provider in Nevada, NV Energy.

Hampton's lawyer, Dan Albregts, did not immediately respond to messages from The Associated Press.

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