Criminal Corruption Charges Expected Against New Jersey Senator
Alleged political favors at play for Sen. Robert Menendez
Federal authorities are expected to bring criminal corruption charges against longtime New Jersey Democratic Sen. Robert Menendez over an allegedly improper relationship with a friend and donor, according to multiplereports.
CNN and the New YorkTimes, citing unnamed officials, report that the Department of Justice will charge Menendez in the coming weeks. The investigation into alleged political favors for Florida ophthalmologist Salomon Melgen has been public for two years, since the FBI raided Melgen’s offices.
The government will focus on whether Menendez improperly acted on behalf of Melgen to change Medicare reimbursement policies, the Times reports. CNN, which first reported the story, notes that Melgen’s practice has been a top recipient of Medicare reimbursements in recent years.
Menendez and Melgen have denied any wrongdoing.
“Let me be very clear: I have always conducted myself appropriately and in accordance with the law,” Menendez said late Friday. “Every action I and my office have taken for the 23 years that I have been privileged to serve in the U.S. Congress has been based on pursuing the best policies for the people of New Jersey and of this entire country.”
“I am not going anywhere,” he added.
As the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Menendez has been an influential voice in international affairs, as well as an occasional thorn in the Obama Administration’s side on its diplomatic maneuvering with Iran and Cuba. He’s also one of the few Cuban Americans on Capitol Hill and the only senator in the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.