Washington (CNN) — The Senate Ethics Committee announced Thursday that it has referred key findings of its case against former Sen. John Ensign to the Justice Department, laying the groundwork for possible prosecution of the Nevada Republican.
Ensign resigned his Senate seat May 3 after revelations that he had an affair with a female aide who was married to another top aide and that his parents subsequently gave money to the aides’ family.
The special counsel investigating the case “respectfully submits that there is substantial credible evidence which provides … cause for the Committee to conclude Senator Ensign violated Senate Rules and federal civil and criminal laws, and engaged in improper conduct,” a report concluded.
"The committee has reason to believe laws were broken," said California Sen. Barbara Boxer, the Democratic co-chairwoman of the committee. "The Justice Department will look at it. They have to."
The report cites “credible evidence” that Ensign and his parents made “false or misleading statements” to the Federal Election Commission and engaged in a potential obstruction of justice, among other things. […]