Sunday, October 4, 2009

Sen. Coburn's Changing Story on Helping the Scandal-ridden John Ensign

Oklahoma's junior senator, Dr. Tom Coburn, fashions himself as a straight arrow. He's a man of God. He's as conservative as they come, to hear him tell it, and as honest as the day is long.

But Coburn's honesty gauge took a beating this week when news reports found him telling two different versions of his efforts to assist Nevada Sen. John Ensign, a God-fearing conservative tied up in a sex scandal.

It seems that Sen. Ensign wanted to keep his secret life secret by assisting or paying off some of the individuals involved. Seems also that his friend Tom Coburn denied any role in helping Ensign set up such arrangements. Seems now that Coburn has admitted that he did in fact assist in those arrangements.

In short: Either Coburn was lying then or lying now.

Either way, Coburn looks a lot less like a principled conservative and a lot more like just another political opportunist who will say whatever he has to in order to save face.

The Tulsa World story is here.


crevo said...

Or, perhaps more likely, the Tulsa World is twisting his comments.

What he has told reporters (which, unsurprisingly, the Tulsa World failed to mention), is that he was acting as a _communicator_ (simply relaying a message), not a _negotiator_, and never advised Ensign either way.

The story in the Oklahoman, I think, seems to give a more honest look at the story.

Tulsan said...

Then again, the right-wing Politico reports on Coburn:

Coburn shifts on Ensign scandal

Four months later, Coburn is knee-deep in it. Since the scandal broke, Coburn’s role as an intermediary between Ensign and Doug Hampton, the longtime Ensign aide who was married to Ensign’s mistress, has come into much greater focus.

Coburn is also backing away from his initial claim that he wouldn’t divulge information to the Senate Select Committee on Ethics because he is both a deacon and a physician, which he claimed gave him a confidentiality privilege in his dealings with Ensign.

On Tuesday, Coburn said for the first time he would fully cooperate with federal investigators — positioning himself to become a key witness if the Ensign inquiries pick up steam.

“You bet,” Coburn said when asked if he’d testify before the Ethics Committee.

That’s a 180-degree turnabout from what Coburn said in June. “I never will, not to a court of law, not to an Ethics Committee, not to anybody — because that is privileged communication that I will never reveal to anybody,” he said at the time.

Melanie Sloan, executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, said in a Tuesday letter to Joseph Persichini Jr., assistant director of the FBI’s Washington field office, that Ensign, the senator’s former chief of staff and Coburn “may well have engaged in criminal conspiracy by overtly assisting Mr. Hampton to lobby his office.”