May 25, 2012

CREW Statement Regarding Ethics Committee’s Qualified Admonition of Sen. Tom Coburn

Congress, Corruption, Ethics, Senate Ethics Committee, Senate, States, Oklahoma, Press Releases, Senate Members, John Ensign, Tom Coburn

U.S. Senate logoWashington, D.C. – Today, the Senate Select Committee on Ethics issued Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) a “Public Letter of Qualified Admonition” in response to the October 2009 complaint Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) filed against him for his role in assisting former Sen. John Ensign (R-NV)’s chief of staff, Doug Hampton, start a lobbying business.  Sen. Ensign had fired Hampton following the end of his affair with Hampton’s wife, who worked on Ensign’s campaign.  CREW Executive Director Melanie Sloan issued the following statement:

The facts in this matter have long been clear and beyond dispute.  The Senate Ethics Committee issued its report on Sen. Ensign over a year ago, so why in the world did it take the Senate Ethics Committee an additional year to find Sen. Coburn violated Senate rules? As usual, the committee was more interested in glossing over misconduct than in actually holding a senator accountable.  It should come as no surprise to anyone that this tepid rebuke was issued at the beginning of a holiday weekend. 

In addition, in its typical fashion, the committee once again has suggested the real problem is not with a senator’s conduct, but with the committee’s failure to make the rules perfectly clear.  This is ‘battered committee syndrome’ at its worst.  Expressing contrition does't excuse all misconduct.

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) is a non-profit legal watchdog group dedicated to holding public officials accountable for their actions. For more information, please visit or contact Jordan Libowitz at 202.408.5565 or