An aide to former Senator John Ensign (R-NV) pled guilty to a misdemeanor violation yesterday, four years after he resigned from his job over a scandal that later forced Ensign to resign from the Senate. Doug Hampton, Ensign's former administrative assistant, faced charges of violating a law that prohibits congressional aides from lobbying within one year of leaving their jobs. Ensign arranged lobbying contracts for Hampton after pursuing an affair with Hampton's wife, Cynthia. The scandal, featured on the cover of Ms. Magazine last summer, eventually resulted in a Senate ethics inquiry. Ensign resigned on May 3, 2011, the day before he was scheduled to testify in the ethics hearing.
As Ms. Magazine reported, the affair was unlikely not truly consensual and Ensign continuously pursued Cynthia Hampton until she gave in. According to the article, "The Senate ethics report found 'substantial credible evidence' that Ensign's behavior constituted sexual harassment. It emphasized that Ensign had 'enormous power' over [Cynthia] Hampton and her husband, as they were both employed by him, and he ultimately forced them to leave his office because of the sexual relationship."
Doug Hampton was originally charged with seven felony counts. Under the plea bargain that he accepted yesterday, Hampton is expected not to receive any jail time and will pay a fine of $250 to $5,000.
Media Resources: New York Times 6/7/12; AP 6/7/12; Ms. Magazine Summer 2011
8/31/2015 Chicago Activists Continue Hunger Strike to Save Predominately Black Public High School - Chicago residents have entered the second week of their hunger strike protesting the closure of Dyett High School, in the predominately African-American Bronzeville neighborhood located on the South Side of Chicago.
Parents and community members are calling on the Chicago Board of Education to keep Dyett - the only open-enrollment, neighborhood school in its area - open and accept a community plan to revitalize the school with a focus on science and green technology. . . .
8/28/2015 Alaska Court Protects Abortion Access for Low-Income Women - The Alaska Superior Court struck down a state law yesterday that would have severely limited abortion access for low-income women in Alaska.
The state's Superior Court also struck down a Department of Health and Social Services regulation that placed narrow specifications on Medicaid coverage for abortions, requiring that Medicaid-funded abortions be determined by a physician to be "medically necessary." Last year, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Planned Parenthood sued on behalf of the Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, claiming that the narrow definition of "medically necessary" arbitrarily established conditions designed to restrict the ability of low-income women to access abortion services.
The law was temporarily blocked last July by an Alaskan state court judge.
Superior Court Judge John Suddock ordered yesterday that the state be blocked from implementing this regulation, ruling that it placed an undue burden on low-income women seeking abortion services in Alaska.
"By providing health care to all poor Alaskans except women who need abortions, the challenged regulation violates the state constitutional guarantee of 'equal rights, opportunities, and protection under the law'," the ruling read.
"We applaud the superior court for striing down these cruel restrictions on women's health and rights that violate the Alaska Constitution," said Chris Charbonneau, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands. . . .