Former Senate aide pleads not guilty in ‘revolving door’ case


A former aide to retiring Sen. John Ensign (R-Nev.) pleaded not guilty Monday on seven counts of violating criminal conflict-of-interest laws.

Doug Hampton appeared before Judge Beryl Howell in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on charges he allegedly engaged in unlawful communications with Ensign’s office after leaving the senator’s employ.

ADVERTISEMENT

This violated a “revolving door” policy that forbids high-ranking Senate aides from lobbying the Senate for a year after they leave Capitol Hill.

Hampton left Ensign’s office in 2008 after it surfaced that Ensign was carrying on an affair with Hampton’s wife. The fallout from the revealed affair pushed Ensign to not seek reelection in 2012.

Hampton has repeatedly called upon Ensign to resign immediately.

Hampton’s defense attorney, A.J. Kramer, requested a 90-day continuance to review what he described as hundreds of thousands of pages in discovery documents provided by prosecutors. A status hearing has been scheduled for July 1.
 
Hampton was released on his own recognizance prior to his next court date and is restricted to travel within his home state of California, the Washington area and Nevada for other legal matters. Both Hampton and his attorney declined to comment on the allegations against him.
 
Hampton’s arraignment was originally slated for March 31 but was postponed after the defendant filed a motion claiming he could not afford transportation to Washington, D.C., from his home in Southern California. The court approved the request for U.S. Marshals to transport the defendant for his court appearance.
 
Financial hardship is yet another blow to the former administrative assistant, who left Ensign’s office after the affair became public.
 
Authorities allege Hampton later sought assistance from Ensign and other staff members to push forward an eastern Nevada power plant proposal on behalf of an energy company for which he was working at the time.
 
While the Department of Justice announced last year it would end its probe of Ensign’s role in the matter, the Senate Ethics Committee is still investigating the Nevada Republican for his involvement in allegedly helping Hampton find work as a lobbyist.
 
If convicted of the conflict of interest charges, Hampton could be sentenced to up to five years in prison for each of the seven counts, authorities said.