Tales from the Trail

from Reuters Investigates:

Senators and prosecutors

Just as media reports came out that the Justice Department was preparing to charge former Democratic Senator John Edwards over allegations he illegally spent campaign contributions to hide his affair with Rielle Hunter, our special report on John Ensign by Murray Waas reveals that the Republican senator is also facing renewed scrutiny by federal prosecutors.

The report raises serious questions as to why the Justice Department closed its file on Ensign last December without first obtaining crucial emails later seen by the Senate. Attorneys close to the case say they could be presented as evidence of campaign finance law violations and obstruction of justice.

As with Edwards, it appears to have been the effort to cover up an extramarital affair rather than the affair itself that got Ensign in hot water.

Read more here in a PDF of the report.

Another one heads for the exit: Senator Ensign won’t seek reelection

UPDATES with Ensign announcement.

At this rate, the Senate will be overrun by freshmen in 2013.

USA-POLITICS/ENSIGNRepublican Senator John Ensign, once considered a potential presidential candidate in 2012, said he won’t seek reelection next year.

The decision comes nearly two years after he admitted to having an affair with a female staffer whose husband also worked for him.

“There are consequences to sin,” he said at a news conference in Las Vegas. Ensign said the campaign was likely to get especially “ugly” and he did not want to put his family through that.

Romney rakes in the dough, gives generously

USA-POLITICS/Former, and perhaps future, Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney raked in some serious cash — $1.6 million — for his political action committee during the first half of 2009, despite the recession.

Romney, who dropped out of the 2008 presidential campaign after poor showings in the early primaries despite raising huge sums of money, is considered one of the untainted potential candidates for 2012. Problems saddling fellow Republicans like outgoing Alaska Governor Sarah Palin and Nevada Senator John Ensign have put their presidential aspirations in question.

In addition to trying to stockpile some cash in case he decides he will make another White House bid, Romney donated $5,000 to Missouri Republican Representative Roy Blunt, who is running for Senate in 2010, and Republican Bob McDonnell, who is seeking Virginia’s governorship.