Nevada Sen. John Ensign announces resignation

Posted April 21, 2011, at 9:58 p.m.

WASHINGTON — Nevada Sen. John Ensign, facing an ethics investigation stemming from an affair with a campaign aide, will resign on Friday, his office announced Thursday afternoon.

The Republican announced in March that he would not seek a third term in 2012, saying he wanted to spare his family an “exceptionally ugly” campaign.

The decision to resign now would stop any action against him by the Senate Ethics Committee, which in February named a special counsel to consider possible violations of ethics rules and federal law.

“While I stand behind my firm belief that I have not violated any law, rule, or standard of conduct of the Senate, and I have fought to prove this publicly, I will not continue to subject my family, my constituents, or the Senate to any further rounds of investigation, depositions, drawn out proceedings, or especially public hearings,” Ensign said in a prepared statement. “For my family and me, this continued personal cost is simply too great.”

Ensign will submit a letter of resignation to Vice President Joe Biden — who is president of the Senate — on Friday. It will take effect May 3, when the Senate is scheduled to return from recess.