published Wednesday, July 22nd, 2009

Ensign donates $5,000 to Wamp

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    U.S. Rep. Zach Wamp, R-Tenn. and U.S. Sen. John Ensign, R-Nev.

NASHVILLE -- Eight days after U.S. Sen. John Ensign, R-Nev., admitted having had an extramarital affair with a former aide, he contributed $5,000 to the gubernatorial campaign of U.S. Rep. Zach Wamp, R-Tenn., records show.

When in Washington, D.C., the two live in the same building, a Capitol Hill Christian fellowship center that has come under national scrutiny lately.

Sen. Ensign's political action committee, Battle Born PAC, contributed the money on June 24, according to Federal Election Commission records. Rep. Wamp's campaign received the contribution on June 29, his Tennessee Registry of Election Finance disclosure shows.

Wamp spokesman John Crisp declined a request to discuss the Ensign contribution, but he noted in an e-mail statement that "we're pleased that 25 or more of Zach's House and Senate colleagues or their committees have already contributed to Zach's campaign for governor.

"This is important because these elected leaders see every day how hard Zach works, and they know what an outstanding job Zach will do as governor for all of Tennessee," Mr. Crisp said.

GOVERNOR'S RACE

Republicans

U.S. Rep. Zach Wamp

Shelby County District Attorney Bill Gibbons

Knoxville Mayor Bill Haslam

Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey, R-Blountville

Joe Kirkpatrick, businessman

Democrats

Paula Flowers, former state Commerce and Insurance commissioner

Brent Benedict, Chattanooga systems analyst

Tennessee Democratic Party Chairman Chip Forrester questioned the Ensign contribution.

"It would seem to me that, if you were running for governor, and you were running on a set of moral values that Zach Wamp seems to talk about a lot, you'd be sort of reluctant to receive financial support from an admitted adulterer."

Rep. Wamp also reported receiving a $1,000 contribution on June 25 from Mint Political Action Committee, a leadership PAC affiliated with U.S. Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., who, according to numerous news accounts, also lives at the C Street Center in Washington, where both Sen. Ensign and Rep. Wamp live when in the nation's capitol.

The Ensign and DeMint contributions were among an estimated $32,600 in contributions made to the Wamp campaign by 22 federal lawmakers or committees associated with them, according to an examination of the Wamp gubernatorial campaign's midyear filing with the state.

Housed in a former convent at 133 C St. SE, the center is owned and maintained by a group affiliated with the Fellowship Foundation, a secretive conservative Christian organization which for decades has organized the annual National Prayer Breakfast.

The C Street Center and the Fellowship have received extensive national publicity in the wake of the Ensign matter as well as its connections to South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford. A Republican who acknowledged that he cheated on his wife, Gov. Sanford went the center in the past for counseling.

Most recently, the estranged wife of former U.S. Rep. Chip Pickering, R-Miss., charged that Rep. Pickering engaged in an extramarital affair while living at the "well-known C Street Complex."

Regarding the Fellowship Foundation, Mr. Forrester said "one of the tenets of the group, as I understand it, is that these people are chosen by God to lead and are sort of forgiven of their sins because they're leaders. I don't want to cast aspersions, but it would be nice if Congressman Wamp would be more forthcoming about exactly what goes on behind closed doors."

In a July 11 Times Free Press interview, possibly the last time he has spoken publicly about the C Street center, Rep. Wamp described it as a "place that people can go off the Hill and in a bipartisan way and get along and hold each other accountable. But there's nothing really to talk about except that's what we chose to do. But it's not (secretive). It's where people live and you go there to fellowship and we happen to have the common denominator of our faith."

Rep. Wamp said he told Sen. Ensign that "I'd pray for him and hope that he can build his life over time. But that's what it takes is a long period of time, and a really good wife that still loves him. And he can put it back together. That's the most important thing."

The congressman called elective office "far less important, because someone else can do that. But nobody else can restore his relationship with his wife and his kids."

about Andy Sher...

Andy Sher is a Nashville-based staff writer covering Tennessee state government and politics for the Times Free Press. A Washington correspondent from 1999-2005 for the Times Free Press, Andy previously headed up state Capitol coverage for The Chattanooga Times, worked as a state Capitol reporter for The Nashville Banner and was a contributor to The Tennessee Journal, among other publications. Andy worked for 17 years at The Chattanooga Times covering police, health care, county government, ...

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sandyonsignal said...

In 1994, Wamp ran with simple bullet plans that stated what he would do, if elected. One of the points was he would live outside of the beltway; and, wanted all of Congress to do the same. Funny, how he ended up living with a cult in pricey Georgetwon. A cult where they are more concerned with power than with morality or integrity.

So far, we have seen three men who ran on family and moral values be exposed for lying, cheating, paying off mistresses, being blackmailed and going awol from their duties. And what is Zach's reaction? He covers for them. Ensign's check looks more like a thank you gift than a campaign donation

And Wamp wants to be our Governor? Why? He only serves himself or his buddies. His other pledges to the people of District 3 never materialized. Here they are: a) term limits - broken. b) cap on congressional pay at 50k - LOL. Broken. c) balanced budget - LOL. Way too broken, thanks to Wamp. d) kids will attend public schools - broken. e) live outside the beltway at a Marine compound. - Broken. Lives at the C Street bordello.

July 22, 2009 at 6:38 a.m.
librul said...

Wamp and his spokespeople keep talking about the C Street frathouse as though it's just a low rent bed and breakfast. It's connection with the Fellowship Foundation aka "The Family" which runs other facilities called "The Cedars" in Arlington and "Ivanwald" nearby and sends these elected representatives around the world on missions as its cultish bag men while shirking their sworn duties deserves far more exposure. Even the valuable expose' by Jeff Sharlet entitled "The Family," currently in paperback, can only cause people to want to know more. Looking at the ideologies of its "brotherhood" and the legislation they typically propose and endorse, it seems clear that these people have abandoned any real responsibility to those who elected them but are essentially functioning as foreign agents. "The Family" is way too comfortable with fascist principles and a long list of dictators round the world responsible for untold crimes against their own people - often done at the behest and for the benefit of American corporate interests. It is these kinds of subterranean connections that lead to blowback like 9/11. A terrific piece by Sharlet was recently published on Salon.com, check it out.

July 22, 2009 at 4:10 p.m.
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