Tom Coburn, the Senate’s resident morality shrill, has a weird idea of how to enforce "Family" values. He and other members of the cultish "Family" apparently tried to help Ensign buy off his mistress.

Hampton and Ensign were bonded by their conservative evangelical faith. Hampton said he reached out to intermediaries involved in a Christian fellowship home in Washington, D.C., where Ensign and several other powerful Washington figures live.

The group, including Coburn, a well-known conservative, confronted Ensign and suggested that the Hamptons needed to be given financial assistance — in the millions of dollars — to pay off their $1 million-plus mortgage and move them to a new life away from Ensign.

During the confrontation, Ensign agreed to write a letter to Cynthia Hampton expressing remorse, Hampton said.

The letter, which was authenticated by Ralston’s executive producer Dana Gentry, is filled with contrition: “I was completely self-centered and only thinking of myself. I used you for my own pleasure not letting thoughts of you, Doug, Brandon, Blake or Brittany come into my mind,” he wrote, referring to the Hampton children.

But after sending the letter, which bears the date “Feb. 2008,” Hampton said Ensign quickly disavowed it in a conversation with Cynthia Hampton and continued to pursue her.

Hampton said that on that same February weekend, Ensign told him, “I’m in love with your wife.”

Here’s the letter, which is even more juvenile than Sanford’s love emails to his mistress.

So I wonder. Is this a formal policy of "the Family," to buy off members’ mistresses? Did they try to buy off Sanford’s mistress (remember, Sanford was getting martial counseling from "the Family" just like Ensign). Was there an implicit understanding that after their mortgage got paid off by Ensign, they would have to be silent about it, even during Ensign’s potential 2012 Presidential run?

And who else’s mistresses has "the Family" bought off?