Sen. Ensign's Mistress Payoff

The story surrounding Sen. John Ensign (R-NV) and his former mistress keep getting more interesting.  Now it seems his parents paid $96,000 to the woman's family.

And it was all done as "gifts" under the tax code.

Ensign's parents gave $12,000 each to former aide Cindy Hampton, her husband and their two children, according to a statement released on Thursday afternoon by Ensign's lawyer.

This comes after press reports that Ensign had been urged - in one case by fellow Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) - to help the family financially, something Coburn flatly denied on Thursday.

Here is the statement released today by Ensign's office:

"Statement on behalf of Senator John Ensign:

In April 2008, Senator John Ensign's parents each made gifts to Doug Hampton, Cindy
Hampton, and two of their children in the form of a check totaling $96,000. Each gift
was limited to $12,000. The payments were made as gifts, accepted as gifts and
complied with tax rules governing gifts.

After the Senator told his parents about the affair, his parents decided to make the gifts
out of concern for the well-being of long-time family friends during a difficult time. The
gifts are consistent with a pattern of generosity by the Ensign family to the Hamptons and
others.

None of the gifts came from campaign or official funds nor were they related to any
campaign or official duties. Senator Ensign has complied with all applicable laws and
Senate ethics rules."