National Journal's Dan Friedman has a great run down of how the Senate Ethics Committee appointing a special counsel to investigate Nevada Sen. John Ensign's (R) affair and alleged cover up has further complicated his 2012 reelection bid.
The appointment [of a special counsel] is a rare step signaling an acceleration of the probe that seriously complicates Ensign's already difficult reelection push.
Carol Bruce, a partner focused on white-collar crime at the K&L Gates LLP law firm, will aide committee staff with "her team" in a preliminary inquiry "examining allegations against Sen. Ensign that he violated Senate rules and federal law," the Ethics Committee said. Bruce is also a former U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia...
Ensign has little remaining exposure to legal liability, but a negative determination by the Ethics Committee would be a blow to his announced effort to run again in 2012 in a race where he already faces strong voter disapproval and a likely primary challenge.
News of the hiring of a special counsel came the same day Ensign met with campaign strategists at the National Republican Senatorial Committee headquarters.
"Senator Ensign met with his reelection steering committee as planned today and the meeting went very well," spokeswoman Jennifer Cooper said.
Check out the whole thing here. (Subscription required)