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
10/31/2014 Federal Judge Exempts Another Catholic University from Birth Control Coverage - A federal judge ruled Tuesday that Ave Maria University, a Catholic university in Florida, does not have to comply with federal rules meant to ensure that covered employees can exercise their right to obtain birth control at no cost.
The Affordable Care Act requires all new health insurance plans to cover all FDA-approved contraceptives - such as the pill, emergency contraceptives, and IUDs - without charging co-pays, deductibles or co-insurance. . . .
10/31/2014 Women of Color in Tennessee Are United in Opposition to Amendment 1 - Just days before the general election in Tennessee, a coalition of community leaders, clergy, and advocates led a press conference encouraging women of color to vote no on Amendment 1, a dangerous and far-reaching measure on the state's ballot.
SisterReach, a grassroots organization focused on "empowering, organizing, and mobilizing women and girls in the community around their reproductive and sexual health to make informed decisions about themselves," organized the press conference "to call attention to the unique concerns Black and poor communities throughout Shelby County and across the state of Tennessee face on a daily basis" and to emphasize how the upcoming election "could further limit [black women's] reproductive, economic, political, and social autonomy."
"We assemble today to impress upon black women and women of color, many of whom are heads of households, to get out and vote," said SisterReacher Founder and CEO Cherisse Scott at the event.
SisterReach has been educating voters about the particularly dangerous impact of Amendment 1 on women of color. . . .
10/30/2014 Medication Abortion Access Threatened by Oklahoma Court Ruling - An Oklahoma state district court judge has refused to block a state law restricting medication abortion, clearing the way for the law to go into affect on November 1.
The Oklahoma Coalition for Reproductive Justice, together with a local abortion clinic in Tulsa, challenged HB 2684 in September, arguing that the law was an unconstitutional restriction on non-surgical abortion in the earliest weeks of pregnancy. . . .