In some cultures and some times, the family of a man of stature would be expected to pay compensation — possibly, though not necessarily, in the form of goats — if he sullied a woman from a good family. This tradition embodied the view that women (not to mention goats) are the property of men, and that damage to their value to men must be compensated.
How fortunate, then, that our enlightened society has developed an alternative way to compensate a family when the scion of some noble house has soiled the reputation of a woman of gentle birth: his parents make tax-code-compliant gifts to the wronged woman, her husband, and her children.
Sen. John Ensign's parents shelled out big bucks to pay off their son's mistress, the latest twist in an unfolding scandal that has upended the political career of the one-time rising GOP star.
. . . .
On Thursday, Ensign's attorney said that the senator's parents gave Doug Hampton, Cynthia Hampton and their two children gifts worth $96,000 in the form of a check. The attorney, Paul Coggins, said that each gift was limited to $12,000 and "complied with tax rules governing gifts."
You remember Senator Ensign. He's the one who took time off from condemning Bill Clinton and Larry Craig — and from defending the sanctity of marriage — to have an affair with one of his employees, the wife of a long-time friend and staffer.
We think that we live in modern times, bound by the rule of law. But there have always been two sets of laws. Rich and powerful people used to be able to send slaves to take their punishment for them. Now we have lawyers. The slave might have to fall on his sword for you. The lawyer merely has to go out and say something patently ridiculous with a straight face. I haven't done the sword thing, but I can assure you that the straight face thing is quite excruciating. That's what Paul Coggins of Fish & Richrdson, Ensign's attorney, found out today:
In April 2008, Senator John Ensign's parents each made gifts to Doug Hampton, Cindy Hampton, and two of their children in the form of a check totaling $96,000. Each gift was limited to $12,000. The payments were made as gifts, accepted as gifts and complied with tax rules governing gifts.
After the Senator told his parents about the affair, his parents decided to make the gifts out of concern for the well-being of long-time family friends during a difficult time. The gifts are consistent with a pattern of generosity by the Ensign family to the Hamptons and others.
None of the gifts came from campaign or official funds nor were they related to any campaign or official duties. Senator Ensign has complied with all applicable laws and Senate ethics rules.
Fish & Richardson P.C.
Counsel for Senator John Ensign
::golf clap:: Well done, old chap. Stiff upper lip, and all that.
The rich and powerful are different than us, you see. They have many, many goats to send out when necessary. Then can hire legions of lawyers like Paul Coggins, girded in their game faces. And ensconced in their manses, they apparently while away their hours worrying about the well-being of family friends facing difficult times.
"Difficult times," in the view of the rich, includes having been boffed by one's sociopathic son. I'm sure there was no deal to be repaid by their wayward son. Noblesse oblige, you know.
Last 5 posts by Ken White
- Hate Speech Debate on More Perfect Live - September 5th, 2017
- Popehat Goes To The Opera: Un ballo in maschera - August 19th, 2017
- Department of Justice Uses Search Warrant To Get Data On Visitors to Anti-Trump Site - August 14th, 2017
- America At The End of All Hypotheticals - August 14th, 2017
- Lawsplainer: Why John Oliver Is Anti-Diversity Now - August 11th, 2017