Sen. Bob Menendez Is Becoming A Headache For Democrats

Sen. Bob Menendez Is Becoming A Headache For Democrats

Amidst Growing Scandal, Sen. Bob Menendez Is Becoming A Headache For Democrats


WHEN IT COMES TO MENENDEZ, “THE BAD NEWS KEEPS COMING” FOR DEMOCRATS

For Senate Democrats, “The Bad News Keeps Coming” In The Developing Menendez Scandal. “The bad news keeps coming: a Senate Ethics probe, allegations involving underage prostitutes, an FBI investigation of a key campaign donor, undisclosed flights on the donor’s private plane, and now, reports linking Menendez to an existing multi-million dollar contract he urged officials to enforce for the disgraced donor. Menendez denies nearly all of it. But it couldn’t come at a worse time for the new chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, who, as the only Hispanic Democrat in the upper chamber, has led the way on his party’s recent all-out push to revamp the country’s immigration laws.” (Jordy Yager, “Menendez Allegations Growing Rapidly, Creating Headache For Democrats,” The Hill, 2/2/13)

  • Menendez“A Cloud Of Scandalous Allegations Is Rapidly Growing Over Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), Putting Democratic Leaders In A Difficult Position.” “A cloud of scandalous allegations is rapidly growing over Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), putting Democratic leaders in a difficult position as the integrity of their immigration point man in the Senate falls under question at a critical time.” (Jordy Yager, “Menendez Allegations Growing Rapidly, Creating Headache For Democrats,” The Hill, 2/2/13)

Politico Headline: “Can Robert Menendez Survive?” (Ginger Gibson and John Bresnehan, “Can Robert Menendez Survive,” Politico, 2/3/13)

MENENDEZ’S RELATIONSHIP WITH A MAJOR CAMPAIGN DONOR UNDER SCRUTINY

In 2010, Menendez Accepted Two Round-Trip Flights To The Dominican Republic Aboard Melgen’s Private Jet

“Sen. Robert Menendez, The Powerful New Jersey Democrat Who This Week Was Named Chairman Of The Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Is Facing A Senate Ethics Probe Into Whether He Accepted Inappropriate Gifts From A Wealthy Florida Eye Surgeon Who Is Under FBI Investigation.” (Joseph Tanfani, “Sen. Robert Menendez Under Growing Scrutiny Over Ethics Questions,” Los Angeles Times, 2/1/13)

In 2010, Menendez Accepted Two Round-Trip Flights Aboard Melgen’s Jet To The Dominican Republic But Failed To Report Them As Gifts Or Reimburse Him At The Time. “Aides to the senator said, however, that Mr. Menendez had accepted two round-trip flights aboard Dr. Melgen’s jet for personal vacations in the Dominican Republic in 2010. He failed to report them as gifts or reimburse Dr. Melgen at the time, as required, and this month he sent the doctor a check to cover the cost of the flights.” (Raymond Hernandez and Frances Robles, “Senator Has Long Ties To Donor Under Scrutiny,” The New York Times, 1/31/13)

  • After The Senate Ethics Committee Was Asked To Investigate Flights Menendez Has Taken On Melgen’s Private Jet, Menendez Wrote Melgen A Check For $58,500.“Menendez cut Melgen a check last month from his personal account for $58,000 to reimburse him for two of the trips. But this came only after a New Jersey state lawmaker had last year asked the Senate Ethics Committee to investigate flights Menendez had taken on Melgen’s private plane but had not disclosed. Menendez himself has not addressed the allegations.”(Jordy Yager, “Menendez Allegations Growing Rapidly, Creating Headache For Democrats,” The Hill, 2/2/13)
  • Melanie Sloan, Executive Director Of Citizens For Responsibility And Ethics In Washington: “The Guy Clearly Violated The Rules, And He Clearly Was Hoping To Get Away With It.” “By paying for the trips, even more than two years later, Menendez will probably be able to avoid being charged with an ethics violation, said Melanie Sloan, executive director of the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, a government watchdog group. ‘That doesn’t mean it’s OK,’ Sloan said. ‘The guy clearly violated the rules, and he clearly was hoping to get away with it.’” (Joseph Tanfani, “Sen. Robert Menendez Under Growing Scrutiny Over Ethics Questions,” Los Angeles Times, 2/1/13)

“Since 1992, Melgen, His Family And His Company Vitreo-Retinal Consultants Have Contributed $1.14 Million To Various Political Candidates And Committees.” (Marc Caputo, “With Sex, The FBI And Shady Characters, The Menendez Saga Is A Florida Whodunit,” The Miami Herald, 2/3/13)

  • “Menendez’s Campaign Efforts Received 53 Percent Of That Money Directly Or Indirectly.” (Marc Caputo, “With Sex, The FBI And Shady Characters, The Menendez Saga Is A Florida Whodunit,” The Miami Herald, 2/3/13)

A Company Purchased By Melgen Scored A “Highly Lucrative” Contract With The Federal Government After Menendez Advocated For It

Menendez “Has Been Helpful” To Major Campaign Donor Dr. Salomon E. Melgen In “Ways That Could Bring The Doctor A Highly Lucrative Windfall.” “Dr. Salomon E. Melgen, a wealthy Florida eye surgeon, has always been happy to help out his friend, Senator Robert Menendez of New Jersey. He rushed to the senator’s side when Mr. Menendez’s mother died, flew him around on his private jet and delivered hundreds of thousands of dollars to benefit Mr. Menendez and the national Democratic Party. Mr. Menendez, a Democrat, has also been helpful to Dr. Melgen, according to records and interviews, in ways that could bring the doctor a highly lucrative windfall.”(Raymond Hernandez and Frances Robles, “Senator Has Long Ties To Donor Under Scrutiny,” The New York Times, 1/31/13)

“Two Years Ago, Dr. Melgen, Despite An Apparent Lack Of Experience In Border Security Issues, Bought An Ownership Interest In A Company That Had A Long-Dormant Contract With The Dominican Republic To Provide Port Security.” (Raymond Hernandez and Frances Robles, “Senator Has Long Ties To Donor Under Scrutiny,” The New York Times, 1/31/13)

  • Menendez, As “Chair Of The Senate Subcommittee That Holds Sway Over The Dominican Republic,” Pushed Officials To “Intervene So The Contract Would Be Enforced, At An Estimated Value Of $500 Million.” “Mr. Menendez, who is chairman of the Senate subcommittee that holds sway over the Dominican Republic, subsequently urged officials in the State and Commerce Departments to intervene so the contract would be enforced, at an estimated value of $500 million.” (Raymond Hernandez and Frances Robles, “Senator Has Long Ties To Donor Under Scrutiny,” The New York Times, 1/31/13)
  • “The Dominican Government Was Refusing To Honor That Contract, After Miguel Cocco, Then The Dominican Customs Director, Had Long Said The Deal Was An Exorbitant Giveaway To The Company.” (Raymond Hernandez and Frances Robles, “Senator Has Long Ties To Donor Under Scrutiny,” The New York Times, 1/31/13)
  • “The American Chamber Of Commerce Of The Dominican Republic Has Opposed The Deal. Some Dominican Business Leaders Have Suggested That Dr. Melgen Is Trying To Use His Political Connections To Force The Contract To Be Paid.” (Raymond Hernandez and Frances Robles, “Senator Has Long Ties To Donor Under Scrutiny,” The New York Times, 1/31/13)
  • Menendez Aides Admitted That Menendez Spoke To State Department Officials About Melgen’s Contract. “Aides acknowledged on Wednesday that Mr. Menendez had spoken to State Department officials about the contract. And at a hearing of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere last July, he questioned two administration officials — Francisco J. Sánchez, the undersecretary for international trade at the Commerce Department, and Matthew Rooney, the deputy assistant secretary in the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs for the State Department — about why the United States government had not been more aggressive on the issue. The senator said more security was needed given the drug trade on the island.” (Raymond Hernandez and Frances Robles, “Senator Has Long Ties To Donor Under Scrutiny,” The New York Times, 1/31/13)

DEMOCRATS HAVE DODGED QUESTIONS, BUT A DRUMBEAT FOR THE ALLEGATIONS TO BE ADDRESSED IS GROWING

“So Far, Democrat Leaders Are Opting Not To Comment Beyond A Few Words.” “It is more important for Menendez’s political future, however, that Democrats refrain from criticizing him publicly. If that occurs, the chances of him surviving this public relations crisis decrease dramatically. So far, Democratic leaders are opting not to comment beyond a few words.” (Jordy Yager, “Menendez Allegations Growing Rapidly, Creating Headache For Democrats,” The Hill, 2/2/13)

  • “‘Bob Menendez Is My Friend. He’s An Outstanding Senator,’ Said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) This Week, When Asked About The Emerging Allegations.” (Jordy Yager, “Menendez Allegations Growing Rapidly, Creating Headache For Democrats,” The Hill, 2/2/13)
  • White House Press Secretary Jay Carney Dodged A Question About Menendez. “Similarly, White House press secretary Jay Carney dodged a question at Friday’s press briefing about whether the president is concerned that a Senate Ethics investigation will hinder the immigration reform push because of Menendez’s key role. ‘Well, I have nothing to say about that. I would refer you to the Senate,’ Carney said.”(Jordy Yager, “Menendez Allegations Growing Rapidly, Creating Headache For Democrats,” The Hill, 2/2/13)

“But The Scandal Circus In The Press Corps On Capitol Hill Is Escalating.” (Jordy Yager, “Menendez Allegations Growing Rapidly, Creating Headache For Democrats,” The Hill, 2/2/13)

The Star-Ledger, The Largest New Jersey Newspaper, Wrote In An Editorial That “Menendez Needs To Break His Silence And Explain Himself.” “The scandal surrounding Sen. Robert Menendez raises serious doubts about his fitness to serve as chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, a job he is scheduled to assume this week. Before he takes that post, Menendez needs to break his silence and explain himself.” (Editorial, “Menendez Prostitution Allegation Is Flimsy, The Rest Is Plausible: Editorial,” The [Newark, NJ] Star-Ledger, 2/3/13)

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