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WASHINGTON, Jul 23, 2009 (UPI via COMTEX) — A secretive religious group paid for trips to Japan and the Middle East by U.S. Sen. John Ensign, R-Nev., now under fire for an adulterous affair, records show.
The travel in 2003 and 2004 did not violate the Senate ethics rules then in force, the Las Vegas Sun reported. The Senate has since adopted new restrictions on travel paid for by outside groups.
The newspaper said Ensign’s travel records show the trips cost $15,000, paid by the International Foundation, an arm of the Fellowship Foundation. That group is known informally as The Family and both Ensign and South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford, another Republican caught in a sex scandal, have ties to it.
The Family operates a house on C Street where a number of congressional representatives live or come for prayer and study sessions. Jeff Sharlet, author of a recent book on the group, said it preaches a kind of Christian capitalism and reaches out to powerful men its leaders believe were chosen by God.
“The Family acts today like the most powerful lobby in America that isn’t registered as a lobby — and is thus immune from the scrutiny attending the other powerful organizations,” Sharlet wrote.
United Press International – July 23, 2009
Copyright 2009 by United Press International

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