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Illicit Sex and Illegal Lobbying Are All In a Day's Work For Christian Right's Sen. Ensign

To quiet down a staffer whose wife he was shagging, Republican Sen. John Ensign got the guy a lobbying job -- a job lobbying his own office -- and then did favors for his clients.

The John Ensign story just gets creepier and creepier. Earlier this year, we learned that the Republican senator from Nevada had had an affair with a campaign staffer who is married to a man who was then a member of Ensign's senate office staff. Are ya with me so far?

Then we learned that Ensign's parents had written that couple -- the woman with whom he had been committing adultery and her husband -- a very large check, a $96,000 "gift", Ensign said, for the couple and two of their three children.

Word then leaked out that Ensign belonged to the C Street cabal, a mostly male, nominally Christian group of people in high places who believe themselves exempt from the normal rules of ethical conduct, on account of their anointment by God. Of course, they don't call themselves a cabal; they call themselves "The Family" or "The Fellowship".(See Jeff Sharlet's masterful book, The Family.) Serving as Ensign's confidant and confessor was Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., another Family member.

Now comes word, through some masterful reporting by New York Times journalists Eric Lichtblau and Eric Lipton of even more hanky-panky than was previously revealed.

Adele M. Stan is AlterNet's Washington bureau chief.