Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) is no stranger to scandal, but the latest allegations against him would have meant the end of his political career if he had an R next to his name rather than a D. Not only is he under an ethics investigation for accepting the gift of chartered flights to the Dominican Republic, there are also charges that the chairman of the foreign relations committee was having sex with underage prostitutes while in that foreign country. So, why is he still a senator? Because, he’s a Democrat from New Jersey.
In some states, these allegations — and the fact the Senate Ethics Committee has joined federal investigators in looking into the explosive claims — would be enough to sink Menendez. But in New Jersey, that may not be enough to topple the Hudson County political boss, who runs the political machine for a part of Jersey known for being rough and tumble and who easily won reelection last year.
“Six years is a long time,” said Democratic former Sen. Robert Torricelli , who left the Senate a decade ago under his own ethics cloud. “I think Bob Menendez is a very tenacious person, and he has the advantage of six long years and a fairly forgiving political environment in New Jersey.
“I wouldn’t be wasting time on a Bob Menendez political obituary,” he added.
The prostitution allegations surrounding Menendez partially came to light before last November’s election, when he won with 58 percent of the vote. Menendez has fervently denied the allegations, and the Justice Department wasn’t publicly investigating the case at that time.
Otherwise, Menendez has had a few good months: He was pictured with President Barack Obama and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie as they toured the Jersey Shore after Hurricane Sandy; helped push through the Sandy relief spending package; and took over as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee when Sen. John Kerry left to become secretary of state.
He’s also the lead Democratic Hispanic voice on immigration reform in the Senate.
Top Senate Democrats, including Majority Leader Harry Reid, are backing Menendez. (Read More)
Why is it not surprising that Harry Reid is protecting a pedophile like Menendez?
Oh, and the allegations against Menendez aren’t limited to the prostitutes or the plane trips. There’s also the charge of peddling his influence to his wealthy donor/pimp.
Ethics concerns grew with a New York Times report that Menendez helped the donor, Dr. Salomon Melgen win a contract for a Florida company he held an ownership stake in.
The senator has yet to address the allegations.
In the editorial, the Star-Ledger dismissed the allegations about prostitution saying there was “no credible evidence to support that accusation.” ….
The paper also calls on Menendez to address the Times report, questioning if the senator used “his position on the Foreign Affairs Committee to advocate for his friend’s business interests.” (Read More)
At least a few newspapers are finally paying attention to this growing scandal, but there’s still been very little mention of it from major news networks.