We don't usually offer much space here to sex scandals, unless, in some cases, they demonstrate, for example, blatantly offensive hypocrisy in regard to everyone else's civil rights (talking to you, disgraced former Sen. Larry Craig (R-ID)) --- or, as in the case of disgraced now-former Sen. John Ensign (R-NV), charges of blatant criminality.
The details out of the bi-partisan, unanimously approved 68-page report released late yesterday by the U.S. Senate Ethics Committee --- which usually does absolutely nothing --- referring the Ensign case to the Dept. of Justice and the FEC for criminal prosecution are stunning, and much worse than previously understood.
In their letter to the DoJ [PDF] the Committee's Chair and Vice-Chair, Senators Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-GA) respectively, refer the matter...
- aided and abetted violations of the one-year post-employment contact restriction,
- conspired to violate that restriction,
- made false statements to the Federal Election Commission,
- violated campaign finance laws, and
- obstructed the Committee's preliminary inquiry.
But even that damning summary of wrong-doing fails to adequately describe the offensive squalor at the heart of this mess, as you'll see below.
Moreover, another reason worth mentioning the whole scandal here: there may be at least one scofflaw still on the loose in regards this matter, still serving in the U.S. Senate --- namely, Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK), one of the very few involved in this extraordinarily ugly, sad and shameful scandal to have, so far, gotten off largely scot-free despite his apparent role in attempting to cover it all up for his friend Ensign.
Finally, there is still one more reason to mention all of this: to highlight the fact that Ensign has now been replaced in the U.S. Senate by the scofflaw, and lying, former NV Secretary of State Dean Heller. Be sure to read on below for details on him and how he too has been allowed to avoid accountability for years despite having, in 2004, illegally certified the 100% unverifiable e-voting systems now used across the state of Nevada (and also used to elect him to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2006.)
Rachel Maddow did a fine job of summarizing the remarkable Senate Ethics Committee report on Ensign on Thursday night, so we'll happily allow her to do so again below, as we're buried in several other stories ourselves at the moment...
The other point that we've only got time to mention here at the moment: The man named to replace Ensign in the U.S. Senate following his resignation last week is NV's former Republican Secretary of State turned U.S. Representative now turned U.S. Senator Dean Heller.
Heller is, himself, a scofflaw, having illegally certified Nevada's Sequoia touch-screen voting systems with so-called "Voter-Verified Paper Audit Trail" as SoS in 2004. We reported on the matter exclusively with Michael Richardson and John Gideon in the 2008 book Loser Take All: Election Fraud and the Subversion of Democracy, 2000-2008 as based on our detailed, six-month+ investigation into how Heller blatantly lied to the media and the public about the failed status of the federal testing of those machines, certified them for use in the 2004 election in violation of state law, and how the wholly corrupt U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) helped him cover his tracks in the process.
If any media are interested in that long-ignored story, now that it involves a sitting U.S. Senator, please see the chapter of Loser Take All entitled "The Selling of the Touch Screen 'Paper Trail': From Nevada to the EAC," and otherwise feel free to touch base if you have any questions.