(Richard Scotti and Swadeep Nigam) – Attention has shifted from what our GOP Senator can do for our State, to his personal behavior. The triumphant march of conservatives has been overshadowed by a lack of conspicuous leadership by our GOP Senator. Our spirit is repressed due to the never-ending allegations that our GOP Senator acted corruptly.
We are on the verge of great victory come November, but the most long awaited victory can quickly slip through our grasp unless we immediately put the focus back on conservative issues. We call on all true conservative Republican leaders and activists to speak out now for the resignation of Senator Ensign.
There is no uprising by Republicans to fight the barrage of anti-Ensign media. Nobody is coming to his rescue. Only a small handful of Republican candidates have even sought his endorsement.
Nor are the elected Republican leaders in Washington throwing any lifeline to Senator Ensign. While they are not publicly calling for his resignation, they are not supporting Ensign either. Let’s all stop ignoring the problem. The only way the Ensign-problem for the GOP will go away is if enough of us call for his resignation.
When the Ensign affair first surfaced, there was great consternation within the Clark County Republican Party (“CCRP”) Central Committee. Some of the former members of the CCRP’s Executive Board privately discussed the Ensign affair, however, the group agreed to wait for more details.
Many of us were uneasy, but tried to remain upbeat as news came out about the Hampton $96,000 pay-off. It began to feel even more conniving as we learned the details how money was funneled through Ensign’s parents to escape detection and reporting requirements. Then we heard his mistress got a promotion and higher pay during the affair. Even worse, accusations have been made that Ensign may have helped his mistress’s husband obtain a lobbying position at NV Energy and Allegiant Air.
Congressman Dean Heller, the most courageous among the Republican leaders, called on Senator Ensign to respond publicly to all these allegations, but as of today Senator Ensign has not explained all.
Over the last several months the accusations and evidence against Ensign have been mounting. It has been widely reported that the Senate Ethics Committee and Department of Justice are investigating possible violations of Senate Rules. Subpoenas have been served around the state on prominent businesses and individuals. Accusations are mounting.
Whether these accusations are true is no longer the issue. They have indisputably impaired Ensign’s ability to do his job effectively and this will negatively impact good Republican candidates who are running in the upcoming elections.
The two biggest indicia of Ensign’s ineffectiveness are his lack of visibility, and his inability to raise money for the GOP or for himself.
No one can dispute that Ensign has not been around. He has not attended a CCRP meeting for at least a year. He did not attend the Nevada Republican Party (“NRP”) Central Committee meeting in Hawthorne last November for the election of the State GOP Chairman.
[Incidentally, he did attend the Lincoln Day dinner in 2009 – at a time when he already knew he was busted – and even then he did not bother to stick around for any meaningful socializing with his constituents.]
He did not attend the Clark County GOP Convention. Furthermore, even before he was tarnished, Senator Ensign wasn’t around stumping for any Republican candidates. The State Party is without a leader/chairperson and our elected Senator is not in a position to even recommend anyone to chair the NRP.
As for fundraising, who doubts that donations to the GOP have been drying up? Neither the CCRP nor the NRP are receiving big donations. As of March 2010, the NRP had less than $200,000. As per the last financial report (Feb 2010), the CCRP has less than $27,000. Where has Ensign been over the last year for any type of fundraising activity?
Even during the good times – pre-Obama, Senator Ensign did not raise any money for the party. He was mediocre at best as the Chair of the Republican Senatorial Committee as he was distracted by his wife’s best friend. At the national level we lost several Senate seats in November 2008 in part due to Ensign’s personal problems that distracted him from fundraising.
A few months back, Sherman Frederick, Publisher of the Las Vegas Review Journal, reported at the Nevada Republican Men’s Club that the Nevada GOP would pay a very high price if there were more allegations and investigations about improper lobbying work by Senator Ensign on behalf of his mistress’s hushed husband. Unfortunately, the allegations and investigations have only intensified.
We can no longer look the other way – even if Ensign is guilty of only moral, and not legal, violations. Ensign established for himself the standard by which he wanted to be judged. He held himself out to the public as a man of great moral and ethical values, and one who is a staunch religious evangelical Christian. We commend him for his strict moral values – but having advocated such values, he must now resign for failing to meet his own standards.
But, of course, this is not merely an issue of personal immorality. We are learning now that the Justice Department may be close to indicting Senator Ensign. On top of that, Senator Ensign is accused of being one of the top 10 most corrupt politicians among 535 elected representatives as published by the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington
In the end, we quote from an outstanding article, published in February 2006, by conservative writer Thomas Sowell.
“Let’s face it: Reality can be stressful and can sometimes get very rough. Everyone has an incentive to postpone it. Most of us, however, learn the hard way that postponing reality only makes it far worse than facing it early on. The problem gets more complicated in politics, where one set of people has the power to postpone facing reality and a different set of people have to pay the price later on.”
Senator Ensign, for the good of your family and friends, for Nevadans and for the long term prosperity of the Republican Party, please do the right thing – step down from your current position as Senator from the great State of Nevada.
(Mr. Scotti is the immediate past chairman of Clark County Republican Party and Mr. Nigam is the immediate past Treasurer of the Clark County Republican Party)