There’s no time like the present for embattled Sen. John Ensign to clear up the "extortion" leak associated with his strange and sudden adultery admission.
Citing unnamed sources close to the senator, news outlets have reported Ensign went public with his revelations to keep from being squeezed for money behind the scenes. Meanwhile, Ensign hasn’t publicly addressed the issue.
It’s now been widely reported that no credible law enforcement agency either in Washington or Las Vegas is actually looking into this possibility. (Of course, that doesn’t preclude a future police or FBI inquiry.)
As Ensign’s credibility nosedives by the day, he has had ample opportunity to clarify these reports. Should his woefully incomplete statement to the media on Tuesday be read as a sign there isn’t much to this whisper campaign?
Cynthia Hampton has admitted she had an affair with Ensign. Her husband, Doug Hampton, was an administrative assistant in Ensign’s Senate office from November 2006 to May 2008. She was the treasurer of Ensign’s Senate primary campaign in 2007 and 2008. In 2008, she also was employed as treasurer of Ensign’s Battle Born Political Action Committee.
The Hamptons have retained attorney Daniel Albregts, who has spoken only briefly to the media.
The lack of a credible law enforcement investigation, of course, wouldn’t prevent a private investigator from gathering information that might be used in an attempt to rehabilitate the senator’s badly tarnished image.
That image could certainly use some help.
NEW CHANCELLOR: The appointment of Dan Klaich to replace Jim Rogers as higher education system chancellor on Thursday generated a nice line from university Regent Cedric Crear.
Klaich will receive $345,000 in annual salary and perquisites. Rogers worked for free, returning his token $20,000 salary to the system.
At one point in the afternoon’s congenial proceedings, Crear quipped, "Dan’s not willing to do that?"
CHIEF QUITS: Josh Hicks managed to keep his scalp and sanity for more than two years as endlessly embattled Gov. Jim Gibbons’ chief of staff. Now Hicks has announced he’s moving on to spend more time with his family (a terrible cliché for such a politically astute fellow) and "pursue some new opportunities."
Certainly his experience next to Gibbons qualifies him for many dangerous duties. Here are four:
• Head of the Baghdad bomb squad.
• Middle East peace negotiator.
• The role of John Wayne in the remake of "Hellfighters," a movie about those fellows who extinguish oil well fires.
• Spokesman for Sen. John Ensign.
LAMB A LION: A severe case of pneumonia couldn’t keep 82-year-old former Clark County Sheriff Ralph Lamb down.
Lamb, who splits time between homes in Arizona and Nevada, was admitted to the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale recently with the life-threatening condition. His comeback was steady, and he says he’s feeling good, all things considered.
"I’m in pretty good shape," Lamb says. "I don’t hardly ever even catch a cold."
CENTENNIAL CELEBRATION: If you’re getting a sense of déjá vu, you’re not alone. Didn’t the community celebrate its centennial back in 2005?
That was the Las Vegas centennial, not the Clark County centennial, which kicks off July 1. The county on Thursday began to place 100 banners commemorating some of the colorful casinos and icons on light poles along the Strip.
Sticklers for historical purity might balk at two centennial celebrations emanating from one community, but they miss the point of this exercise: To generate a reason to celebrate. It’s what Las Vegas does best.
SPECIAL PARTY: The Palms is known worldwide as a place to party, but at 6 p.m. June 25 it will set a new standard at the Sky Villa Suite with the VIP Experience to benefit the Special Olympics of Nevada. The athletes will host the gathering. For tickets, call Maggie Schwarz at 465-3797.
ON THE BOULEVARD: The inaugural Colors of Lupus Gala is set for 6 p.m. June 27 at the Treasure Island Ballroom. Proceeds from the night of dining and entertainment, co-sponsored by the Las Vegas Hispanic Council, will remain in the community. For tickets, call Julie Gibbs at 831-3414.
BOULEVARD II: Departing Chancellor Rogers has accepted an offer to teach a class at Johns Hopkins University’s Carey Business School. … A smiling former Regent Stavros Anthony on his 10-vote "landslide" in the recent City Council race: "It was a double-digit win!"
Have an item for the Bard of the Boulevard? E-mail comments and contributions to Smith@reviewjournal.com or call (702) 383-0295. He also blogs at lvrj.com/blogs/smith/.