Embattled Sen. Ensign Stepping Down

In 2009, the Nevada senator revealed he had an extramarital affair.

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Nevada Republican Sen. John Ensign announced Thursday he will resign from office effective May 3. "The turbulence of these last few years is greatly surpassed by the incredible privilege that I feel to have been entrusted to serve the people of Nevada," said Ensign in a statement. In 2009, Ensign revealed he had an extramarital affair with former campaign staffer Cynthia Hampton. Ensign described the affair as the "absolutely worst thing I have ever done in my life." The Nevada senator has been at the center of an Ethics Committee investigation as to whether he helped Hampton's husband Doug secure a lobbying job. Ensign insists he did nothing wrong. "While I stand behind my firm belief that I have not violated any law, rule, or standard of conduct of the Senate, and I have fought to prove this publicly, I will not continue to subject my family, my constituents, or the Senate to any further rounds of investigation, depositions, drawn out proceedings, or especially public hearings," he said in the statement. In February, the Ethics Committee appointed a special counsel to the case after the Justice Department and the Federal Election commission closed their investigation without bringing charges. But the Ethics Committee will continue its investigation. "For my family and me, this continued personal cost is simply too great," Ensign said.

-Caitlin Huey-Burns