CHUTZPAH WATCH…. Sen. John Ensign (R-Nev.) is the subject of an ongoing FBI investigation into his humiliating sex-ethics-corruption scandal. The Senate Ethics Committee has also initiated a probe. The investigation appears to be heating up, and by some accounts, expanding.

Ensign’s fellow Republicans don’t want to be seen with him, and in the first three months of the year, the senator raised exactly $50 in campaign contributions — the result of two donations from one guy.

What amazes me is that Ensign seems to think he can recover from all of this.

After delivering a floor speech against the financial overhaul bill last week, Sen. John Ensign (R-Nev.) walked out of the Capitol into the spring sunshine and spoke optimistically of getting back to raising money for his reelection campaign — never mind the looming ethics cloud stemming from his admitted affair with an aide. […]

The Nevadan has started organizing fundraisers and making calls to donors for help in winning a third term in 2012. Ensign, once a rising star in the Republican leadership, collected a mere $50 during the first quarter of this year, but he’s confident that is about to change.

Assuming, that is, that Ensign can stay out of jail.

Just last week, Rep. Mark Souder (R-Ind.), another far-right moralist who’s spent his career touting “family values,” resigned after confessing to an affair. There wasn’t anything unusually scandalous about Souder’s story — married congressman sleeps with part-time aide — but there was an immediate realization that stepping down was the right thing to do.

With Ensign, it’s much worse. He cheated with his friend’s wife, while condemning others’ moral failings. His parents offered to pay hush-money. He ignored ethics laws and tried to use his office to arrange lobbying jobs for his mistress’ husband. The likelihood of Ensign being indicted seems fairly high.

That he’s planning to run again is just astounding.

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.