NJ Senator Menendez Indicted for Bribery

Well that was quick.

Just after my recent post on the allegations against New Jersey Senator Robert Menendez, the senator was finally indicted, on 22 counts including conspiracy, bribery, honest services fraud and making false statements.  His crony, Miami eye doctor Salomen Melgen, was also charged.

The indictment alleges that “Melgen offered and gave, and Menendez solicited and accepted from Melgen, hundreds of thousands of dollars of contributions to entities that benefitted Menendez’s 2012 Senate campaign, in exchange for specific requested exercises of Menendez’s official authority.”

According to the indictment, Menendez used his official authority to help Melgen in these ways:

  • Influencing the granting of visas for Melgen’s foreign girlfriends (Melgen is married, BTW);
  • Pressuring the State Department to influence the Dominican Republic to abide by a multi-million dollar contract with Melgen to provide cargo screening at Dominican ports;
  • Stopping United States Customs from donating shipping container monitoring and surveillance equipment to the Dominican Republic (which would have threatened the Melgen’s contract) ; and
  • Influencing the outcome an administrative action that sought repayment by Melgen of millions of dollars in Medicare overbillings.

In exchange for this official action, Menendez allegedly received at least 20 private jet trips for himself and friends, luxury vacations, and generous donations for his campaign and legal defense funds.  Donations for the latter may be harder for the Senator to come by now.

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