NJ Senator Bob Menendez has been indicted on 14 counts of corruption by a grand jury in New Jersey. The charges revolve around his relationship with Dr Soloman Melgen , who was indicted on 13 charges. Menendez and Melgen would often fly off to the Caribbean together on Melgen’s private plane. Twice, Menendez was given the jet by Melgen to fly down by himself. After it was discovered, Menendez was forced to reimburse Melgen $60,000 for the flights.
When Melgen was accused of over billing for Medicare. Menendez intervened and tried to get the charges dropped. Menendez also tried to help Melgen get the contract for security for the port in the Dominican Republic. With today’s announcement, the DOJ did not give specifics on what the 14 counts were for other than to say 8 counts were for bribery, 3 were for honest services fraud, 1 count of conspiracy and one count for violating the Travel Act for both Menendez and Melgen. Menendez was also indicted on one count of lying to investigators.
The DOJ sat on the charges for over two years and why they are being made now raises questions. Were the charges brought because Menendez very loudly criticized the naked emperor on both Cuba and Iran. They cared less about the charges until that happened and within a month he’s under indictment. Menendez denies all charges and spent the past two weeks trying to convince the DOJ not to bring charges against him. Menendez has sworn that he will not resign during the trial.
This creates two interesting scenarios. First, as the ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, he has been able to voice his displeasure at Obama’s policies on Cuba and Iran. This at the same time that most democrats are avoiding critical comment on Obama’s handling of the two situations. (Maybe they don’t want the DOJ to charge them) I look for Reid to remove menendez from his chairmanship to provide cover for Obama.
The second item is the confirmation of Loretta Lynch. Since the DOJ is prosecuting Menendez, it would be conflict of interest for him to vote on her confirmation. Since it was announced that he was to be indicted, Menendez has been coy about which way he would vote. He was probably hoping it might give Obama and Holder pause to prosecute him, but Obama’s ego was always going to take precedent.
Obama had better hope Menendez doesn’t have any dirt on him.