Senator John Ensign sought financial backing for a troubled Nevada energy company in 2008, and at the same time he urged the company to hire his mistress’s husband, according to people involved in the matter.
At the request of the company, P2SA Equity, Mr. Ensign had two senior aides contact one of the nation’s largest oil pipeline businesses, Kinder Morgan, about forming a partnership, two executives associated with the project said.
Mr. Ensign’s dealings with P2SA are at the center of a federal criminal inquiry into his efforts to line up lobbying work for Doug Hampton, a former top aide whose wife had an affair with the senator.
Investigators appear to be looking into whether Mr. Ensign sought to ingratiate himself with P2SA so that he could ease Mr. Hampton out of his office in Washington. Former Capitol Hill staff members like Mr. Hampton are barred from lobbying for a year after leaving their jobs, and if Mr. Ensign knowingly helped him evade that restriction, he could face ethics or criminal charges.