ENSIGN HOPES HIS SUPPORTERS ARE EASILY FOOLED…. Major media outlets continue to give him a pass, but the ongoing FBI investigation into Sen. John Ensign (R-Nev.) took an interesting turn recently when the scandal-plagued Republican started begging for cash for his legal defense fund.

Ensign, at the center of a humiliating sex/corruption/ethics scandal, registered his legal defense fund as a tax-exempt 527 political organization, which itself was a bizarre move. But this week, the right-wing senator sent out his first appeal to help pay his legal bills, acknowledging his adultery, but denying corruption allegations that appear to be plainly true.

Nevada journalist Jon Ralston described the appeal as “galling,” adding that by sending the letter, Ensign “showed that not only does he lack self-awareness, but he thinks most people who receive the letter are ignoramuses.”

That mistake — this is just about sex! — did not lead to a “difficult legal battle.” Ensign is in legal jeopardy not because he slept with his wife’s best friend and his best friend’s wife — that never sounds less grotesque, does it? — but because of how he tried to cover it up, pay off the couple through Mom and Dad and then try to hush up the cuckolded husband by importuning people he regulates to hire him.

The vast majority of people, I think, would forgive Ensign for weakness of the flesh — the social conservative base he pandered to, notwithstanding. But his manipulation of the lives of Cindy and Doug Hampton and his shameful attempt to play the victim now have outraged many who might have been forgiving.

As for “being accused of things I absolutely did not do,” I ask: Really? Do tell. All we’ve heard is “no comment” for more than a year. What is there in the past that should induce us to believe him?

Also note, instead of taking responsibilities for his own outrageous behavior, Ensign blamed his legal difficulties on Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), which the far-right senator dismissed as a “liberal organization” going after him without cause.

CREW’s Melanie Sloan responded, “Senator Ensign had an extended affair with a campaign staffer, who happened to be married to his chief of staff Doug Hampton, fired them both, and had his parents pay them off without properly reporting it to the Federal Election Commission. He then conspired to help Mr. Hampton to set up a lobbying business to lobby his own office, in violation of federal law. So what exactly are the things that Senator Ensign is being accused of that he did not do?”

What a good question.

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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.