Senator Bob Menendez, left, and Congressman Frank Pallone, making like chimpmunks at the 2012 Belmar St. Patrick’s parade. Photo credit Charles Measley
A federal grand jury in Miami is investigating Senator Robert Menendez, examining his role in advocating for the business interests of his benefactor, Dr. Salomon Melgen, and the anonymous allegations that Melgen provided the senator prostitutes while they vacationed together in the Dominican Republic, according to a report in The Washington Post.
Menedez declined to say if he was aware of the investigation, but welcomed being probed.
“I welcome any review, because I believe, at the end of the day, that my actions have been appropriate,” the senator said. “And just as everything that gave rise to this was a smear campaign based on slanders that drove the original story, I believe that when any review reviews the facts, they will determine that I have acted appropriately at all times.”
Menendez told WaPo that he likely would have received an exemption from the Senate Ethics Committee for the two flights he took on Melgen’s private jet in 2010 but did not report until January of this year. He paid Melgen $58,500, which was between 32% and 87% of his net worth, for the flights he thinks the Ethics Committee would let him have gratis because it was the right thing to do.
He said he could have likely received an exemption from the Senate Ethics Committee based on his long friendship with Melgen. “But I said, ‘You know, it’s past, and the right thing at the moment is to pay for it,’ ” he said. “When I learned of the mistake, I did what was right and took care of it.”
When Robert Menendez arrived in the U.S. Senate in 2006, he was a relative pauper in a chamber often called a millionaires’ club. The New Jersey Democrat ranked 97th out of 100 senators in terms of his personal wealth, according to financial records filed that year and compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics.
So Menendez’s decision last month to use his personal funds to reimburse a prominent political contributor $58,500 for two flights to the Dominican Republic came at a major cost. The repayment amounts to between 32 percent and 87 percent of the assets Menendez reported holding in bank accounts and stock, according to his latest financial-disclosure form, which was filed last year.
Menendez repaid Florida eye doctor and political donor Salomon Melgen only after his free flights aboard Melgen’s plane became public and the subject of a Senate ethics complaint. A local New Jersey Republican group filed a complaint last November, alleging the senator had broken Senate rules by “repeatedly flying on a private jet to the Dominican Republic, and other locations.” Menendez reimbursed Melgen the $58,500 two months later, on Jan. 4, according to his office.
Government watchdogs are dubious. They say Menendez’s financial situation adds fuel to questions about his motives and whether the free flights he accepted were a simple oversight.
“For a senator that’s not a Rockefeller, that’s real money,” said Meredith McGehee, policy director for the nonpartisan Campaign Legal Center. “It kind of makes you wonder.… If he knew in advance that the trips were going to cost him $60,000, would he have done it?”
In the years after the Jack Abramoff scandal, which involved trips abroad for politicians, McGehee said it “stretches credibility” that Menendez was unaware he was receiving a gift while boarding a private flight to a Caribbean island. “You’re about to walk on a private plane, and you’re a public official—and that doesn’t occur to you?” she said.
Melanie Sloan, executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, another watchdog group, was even less charitable.
“He waited until he was caught to pay them back,” she said. “If you rob a bank—and you’re caught—you don’t say, ‘Take the money back and forget about it.’ ”
Roll Call is reporting that Senator Bob Menendez’s office has issued a statement denying any wrongdoing on the senator’s part related to the FBI raid last night on his friend and campaign contributor’s West Palm Beach, Florida office:
“Dr. Melgen has been a friend and political supporter of Senator Menendez for many years. Senator Menendez has traveled on Dr. Melgen’s plane on three occasions, all of which have been paid for and reported appropriately,” Menendez’s office said in a statement. “Any allegations of engaging with prostitutes are manufactured by a politically-motivated right-wing blog and are false.”
The Menendez statement appears to conflict with information included in State Senator Sam Thompson’s ethics complaint filed with the Senate Select Committee on Ethics last November. Thompson alleged that Menendez appeared to have accepted free travel to the Dominican Republic on Dr. Soloman Melgen’s private jet, and failed to disclose the gift traffic as required by Senate rules. The Senate Select Committee had not responded to Thompson as of Monday
Maybe Now New Jersey’s Mainstream Media Will Report The Story
Late last night the FBI raided the office of the West Palm Beach eye doctor who allegedly provided New Jersey’s junior U.S. Senator Bob Menedez with free travel to the Dominican Republic on his private jet where the men engaged in sex parties with prostitutes and underage girls, according to reports in The Miami Herald and FoxNews.
FBI agents late Tuesday night raided the West Palm Beach business of an eye doctor suspected of providing free trips and even underage Dominican Republic prostitutes to U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J. — who has denied what he calls the “fallacious allegations.”
Agents gathered at the medical-office complex of Dr. Salomon Melgen, a contributor to Menendez and other prominent politicians, to start hauling away potential evidence in several vans.
The investigation is believed to be focusing on Melgen’s finances and the allegations about Menendez’s trips and contact with prostitutes. A spokesman for Menendez could not be reached for comment, nor could Melgen.
Menendez’s appointment as Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee became official just hours before the raid when former Senator John Kerry, the previous chairman, was confirmed by the Senate as U.S. Secretary of State.
Yesterday afternoon Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid dismissed the allegations against Menendez because the story was first reported by the conservative website, The Daily Caller. “I always consider the source,” Reid told Roll Call. Maybe Reid will take these allegations more seriously now, since The Miami Herald endorsed President Obama over Mitt Romney in last year’s presidential election.
Since The Daily Caller broke the story of Menendez’s activity with prostitutes in the Dominican Republic at Melgen’s largess last October, just days before the election where the Senator won his second full term, New Jersey’s mainstream media outlets have not covered the story. One prominent reporter told MMM that the story had been shopped to a prominent New Jersey newspaper prior to the initial Daily Caller report. The paper’s editors considered the story too thin both before and after Daily Caller reported it. Another prominent reporter said “no body cares and we’re too busy.”
Academy Award winning actress Mira Sorvino and John Morton, the Director of the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) will be among the keynote speakers at an Anti-Human Trafficking Symposium held at Georgetown University in Washington, DC.
MMM is promoting the symposium and embedding the livestream video in the hopes that Senator Bob Menendez will either watch or stop by the hilltop.
News of the allegations that U.S. Senator Bob Menendez sexually exploited Dominican teen aged girls during his trips to the DR on a campaign contibutor’s private jet slipped into New Jersey main stream media coverage last weekend when Bob Ingle blogged about the sentor’s spokesperson telling FoxNews that the allegations were “unsubstantiated garbage.”
Yesterday, Brietbart caught up with Menendez who said he would not dignify the story. Click here to listen to Mendendez refusing to dignify.
“Unsubstantiated garbage” and “I’m not going to dignify that” are not denials. I can not imagine a dignified substantiation.
New Jersey State Senator Sam Thompson, in his capacity as Chairman on the Middlesex GOP, wrote to the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Ethics last November asking that they investigate Menendez’s accepting illegal travel for his DR sexcapades. Thompson tells MMM that he has not heard from the committee.
It would seem that Mendenez, who officially becomes Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee upon John Kerry’s confirmation as Secretary of State, is getting a pass from the Select Committee on Ethics. The FBI won’t confirm or deny that they are investigating him.
However, the far left wing website, Gawker, followed Daily Caller’s story with a report from “someone who was unfortunate enough to live in the unit below Menendez’s Washington, DC apartment,” who said “he would bring home a different young, attractive lady almost every night, put on a little jazz, and f**k loudly until 3 a.m.”
Kyrillos calls on Menendez to release his travel records
A prominent reporter with one of New Jersey’s largest media outlets told MMM that The Daily Caller’s story about US Senator Bob Menendez covorting with prositutes in the Dominican Republic and paying them $400 less than agreed is “extremely thin, our resources are spread thin.” The reporter said that it will be the editors’ judgement about what to do with the story.
The Daily Caller story included video of the women who charged Menendez paid them less than agreed for sex, and referred to aircraft records of a Menendez donor’s private airplane landing at Teterboro Airport, a short drive from Menendez’s Hudson County home, and flying to the Dominican Republic during the time last spring when the incident is alleged to have occurred.
State Senator Joe Kyrillos’s campaign spokeswoman called on the incumbent to release his schedule and travel documents for the time of the alleged incident.
“Like the recent Secret Service sex scandal in Colombia, the allegations reported today are deeply disturbing and raise serious questions,” said Kyrillos Campaign Communications Director Meaghan Cronin. “Senator Menendez must do the right thing and help settle this matter by immediately releasing his schedule and travel documents from the time the alleged incidents occurred. The people of New Jersey deserve answers today.”