Admonished Coburn

Image of Tom Coburn

The Senate Ethics Committee has admonished U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn for his role in the U.S. Sen. John Ensign love-affair scandal, but the admonishment doesn’t really matter and the corporate media here will continue to give him a free ride.

Last year, Ensign resigned from the Senate after it was revealed he had an affair with Cynthia Hampton, who once worked for him. Her husband, Doug, also worked for Ensign. After the affair was revealed, Coburn, a friend of Ensign, was “intimately involved in trying to help the Ensigns and Hamptons reach a financial settlement that would stave off any public disclosure of, by then, the past affair,” according to the committee.

Principally, the committee said a Coburn meeting with Hampton violated the “cooling off period” rule in the Senate.

Last year, I wrote about Coburn’s role in the aftermath of the affair, noting he and “Ensign once lived together at the C Street Center, a Washington townhome, which is associated with The Fellowship, also called The Family, a fundamentalist Christian organization.” My post was about a Senate report that contained details about Coburn arranging for a financial settlement for the Hamptons after the affair was over.

The admonishment is really just a small slap on the hand. It carries no penalty. Its chances of hurting Coburn politically are fairly slim, but it does create a much different narrative of the senator than that depicted in the corporate media here.

The prevailing corporate media narrative goes something like this: Coburn is a regular, good guy that wants to bring good ol’ Oklahoma common sense to the federal budget.
Even the national media sometimes participates in this ruse.

The truth is that Coburn can also be seen as a right-wing, religious ideologue, who, according to the report, served as an intermediary to help buy off the silence of people hurt by one of his powerful political friends.

This may seem obvious, but the report shows just how out of touch Coburn and most Washington politicians are with the real world. Most Oklahomans can’t try to buy their way out of their life mistakes because they simply don’t have the resources to do so. The Hamptons eventually received a $96,000 gift from Ensign’s parents, according to media reports.

Here’s what’s going to happen: Nothing. The admonishment was a one-day story, and the corporate media here will soon be congratulating Coburn on one of his famous one-Senator “holds” to prevent some important legislation from passing.