ENSIGN SCANDAL LEADS TO NRSC SUBPOENAS…. It’s not every day one of the major party’s campaign committees get subpoenaed by a federal grand jury, but the scandal surrounding Republican Sen. John Ensign (Nev.) isn’t done heating up.

The National Republican Senatorial Committee has been subpoenaed by a federal grand jury looking into the aftermath of Sen. John Ensign’s extramarital affair with a former staffer, adding a new political problem for GOP leaders in their response to the dual criminal and ethics probes of the Nevada Republican.

The NRSC was asked to turn over documents related to Ensign’s tenure as NRSC chairman. Ensign chaired the committee during the 2007-08 cycle.

NRSC officials declined to comment on the subpoena other than to confirm its existence.

This follows reports of subpoenas for six Las Vegas-area businesses, as part of the same federal investigation.

The goal, of course, is determining the extent of the Ensign cover-up, and whether his actions were criminal. In the case of the NRSC, Ensign was the campaign committee’s chairman through the 2008 election cycle, and investigators likely want to know whether the far-right hypocrite misused his NRSC authority as part of his humiliating sex scandal.

In particular, a local report noted that investigators want more information about Ensign’s outreach to a company called eCommLink, which was concerned about pending federal regulations. Ensign’s office may have offered the company “more protection from regulation in exchange for a $28,000 contribution to the National Republican Senatorial Committee.”

The allegations prompted Zachary Roth to note that the allegations raise “the possibility that the probe could be mushrooming into a bribery inquiry that could ensnare the NRSC as it gets set for this fall’s election.”

If the media just blows this one off, it will be journalistic malpractice. As of today, the Washington Post still hasn’t published an article about the Ensign scandal in months, despite the new developments.

Update: MSNBC’s First Read asks, “How did the Eric Massa mess dominate the news for an entire week, while the latest allegations surrounding John Ensign — which include an ACTUAL FBI investigation — have registered just a blip on the media radar?”

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Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.