Tough Day for Republicans
by Jonathan Singer, Thu Mar 18, 2010 at 04:37:40 PM EDT
Getting away from the policy, for a moment, and to the politics, today has been a bad day for Republicans. First, the scandal surrounding John Ensign is blowing up, touching not only the GOP Senator from Nevada but also the National Republican Senatorial Committee, which Ensign recently chaired.
The National Republican Senatorial Committee has been subpoenaed by a federal grand jury looking into the aftermath of Sen. John Ensign’s extramarital affair with a former staffer, adding a new political problem for GOP leaders in their response to the dual criminal and ethics probes of the Nevada Republican.
The NRSC was asked to turn over documents related to Ensign’s tenure as NRSC chairman. Ensign chaired the committee during the 2007-08 cycle.
A Las Vegas TV station, KLAS, reported on Wednesday night that at least a half-dozen Nevada businesses with ties to Ensign have received document subpoenas from the grand jury in Washington, D.C.
KLAS also said that federal agents, including a prosecutor from the Justice Department’s Public Integrity unit, are looking into allegations that Ensign offered to help a Nevada credit card company block new legislation in return for a $28,000 donation to the NRSC.
Ensign's is not the only ethics scandal hitting Republicans today.
South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford has agreed to pay $74,000 to settle charges that his travel and campaign spending violated state ethics laws.
The Republican governor is accused of breaking 37 laws, including improperly using pricey plane tickets for a trip to Argentina where he saw the mistress he infamously called his soul mate.
Under a consent agreement signed Thursday, Sanford doesn't admit guilt but does not contest the charges either.
It's going to be pretty hard for Republicans to prove to the American people that they learned the lessons of 2006 and 2008 when they allow the Ensigns and Sanfords to remain in their midst.