A senior aide to Sen. John Ensign confirmed late Friday that FOX News had no contact with the senator's office prior to Tuesday's revelation that Ensign had an affair with a former campaign worker.
"Can't expand, but FOX didn't tip us off," said a senior Ensign aide, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
On Monday, FOX was told by former Ensign administrative assistant Doug Hampton that Hampton's wife, Cynthia, a former Ensign campaign worker, had an affair with the Nevada Republican. But before FOX could vet the allegations or contact Ensign's office, the senator publicly admitted the affair.
Ensign spokesman Tory Mazzola later said an unnamed lawyer for Doug Hampton made "exorbitant demands for cash and other financial benefits" before the affair was made public. Meanwhile, Ensign's office learned that Doug Hampton had contacted FOX.
"The outrageous demands, on top of the fact that they approached the media, prompted us to go public," said the senior Ensign aide.
Ensign, 51, has said he intends to remain in the Senate, though he resigned as head of the Republican Policy Committee, the fourth-ranking spot in the leadership, after acknowledging the nine-month affair.
Mazzola also said Thursday the senator helped Doug Hampton get two jobs during the time he acknowledged carrying on the affair.
"Just as he has done for many other staff members, Senator Ensign made recommendation calls for Mr. Hampton," Mazzola said in a statement.