Media wonders: Why is Menendez intervening on behalf of a big campaign donor, anyway?

posted at 1:01 pm on February 2, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

The national media may not be asking about underaged hookers — yet — but they’re getting a lot more interested in whether Senator Bob Menendez prostituted his office on behalf of a big donor.  After an FBI raid this week targeted the offices of Menendez crony and contributor Salomon Melgen, Menendez scurried to round up enough cash to reimburse Melgen for private-jet flights to the Dominican Republic, apparently emptying his bank account.  That was enough to draw the interest of the Senate Ethics Committee — and now the Washington Post wants to know why Menendez seemed so intent on intervening on behalf of his friend’s business interests:

Last year, as Melgen donated $700,000 to support the senator’s reelection campaign and other Democrats, Menendez sought to turn up the pressure on the Dominican Republic to carry out the multimillion-dollar contract. Melgen had acquired an ownership stake in a company that had previously contracted with the Dominican Republic to provide port security.

In July, Menendez led a Senate hearing on the challenges of doing business in Latin America and urged officials from the Commerce and State departments to apply pressure to countries that didn’t honor agreements with U.S. businesses. Without naming Melgen, Menendez highlighted the contract to provide security in the Dominican port.

The U.S. ambassador to the Dominican Republic, an ally of Menendez, added his voice to the cause, according to reports in the Dominican press. In a meeting with government officials in the island nation, Ambassador Raul Yzaguirre stressed the need for the Dominican Republic to start scanning container ships entering its port for terrorist threats and drugs.

Dominican merchants were fuming at the cost — the 20-year contract was estimated to be worth as much as $500 million — and questioning how an eye doctor had branched out into port security.

Melgen “is an ophthalmologist, for Christ’s sake,” said William Malamud of the American Chamber of Commerce of the Dominican Republic. “He has no experience in port security.’’

No, but he has a lot of experience in crony capitalism and possibly corruption, it appears.  It’s taken a while, but the media has finally taken some interest in Menendez’ travels and connections, and especially in how both may relate to his work as US Senator.  And the Post isn’t alone, either.  Here’s the LA Times:

Sen. Robert Menendez, the powerful New Jersey Democrat who this week was named chairman of theSenate Foreign Relations Committee, is facing a Senate ethics probe into whether he accepted inappropriate gifts from a wealthy Florida eye surgeon who is under FBI investigation.

The Senate Ethics Committee is conducting a preliminary investigation of two trips Menendez took to a luxury beach resort in the Dominican Republic in August and September 2010 as a guest of Dr. Salomon Melgen, a longtime friend and political donor. …

A review of records shows Menendez has at times used his role on the Foreign Relations Committee to advocate for Melgen.

In a subcommittee hearing last July, he pressed Commerce and State Department officials for action to help enforce contracts held by U.S. firms in the Dominican Republic, including a seaport security contract granted to a company partially owned by Melgen.

The company, ICSSI, holds a contract, reportedly worth $500 million to $1 billion over 20 years, to X-ray cargo shipped through the Dominican Republic. Business groups there have fought to keep the deal from going into effect, arguing that the fees are too high and would increase their costs.

And also CNN, which actually does mention the allegations of prostitution:

Another issue has to do with whether Menendez advocated on behalf of ICSSI — a port security company that Melgen has a stake in — on Capitol Hill.

During a Senate subcommittee hearing last July, Menendez didn’t mention ICSSI by name, but he did press Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Matthew Rooney about an unnamed company who had a contract to X-ray cargo that went through all Dominican ports — a contract that, he said, Dominican authorities “don’t want to live by.”

“If those countries can get away with that, they will,” the senator said. “And that puts American companies at a tremendous disadvantage.”

Looks like Menendez isn’t just being held to account by “right-wing blogs” alone any more.


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Because they are the ones with the underaged girls. D’uh.

Flange on February 2, 2013 at 1:06 PM

don’t worry the D in front of his name will soon scare them away

gsherin on February 2, 2013 at 1:10 PM

It’s a State secret. If you find out, they’ll have to kill you.

listens2glenn on February 2, 2013 at 1:10 PM

What a disgusting human being. Small wonder that its aking the left so long to distance themselves from him.

jawkneemusic on February 2, 2013 at 1:11 PM

“Why is Menendez intervening on behalf of a big campaign donor, anyway?”

Isn’t that just doing business as usual in Washington DC?

Drained Brain on February 2, 2013 at 1:12 PM

DEMOCRAT… nothing to see here… move along… no accountability… no story…

Khun Joe on February 2, 2013 at 1:15 PM

What a disgusting human being. Small wonder that its aking the left so long to distance themselves from him.

jawkneemusic on February 2, 2013 at 1:11 PM

Bob Packwood… Bill Clinton… Anthony Weiner… the beat goes on…

Khun Joe on February 2, 2013 at 1:16 PM

Intervening for a big campaign donor?

Isn’t that because senators are hookers too?

viking01 on February 2, 2013 at 1:16 PM

Check your calendar, Ed. It’s Saturday, the day when MSM viewership/readership is at the lowest level of the week. They’re dumping this stuff now when no one is watching, so when people do start watching again tomorrow and Monday, they can say this is all “old news” and that it’s time to “move on.”

Gator Country on February 2, 2013 at 1:26 PM

i suggest using the absolutely adorable rubio/menendez amnesty pic http://nbclatino.files.wordpress.com/2013/01/immigration-announcement-rubio-menendez.jpg?w=640&h=480&crop=1 everytime a story comes up about menendez. if we could photoshop manti teo it could close down the press for a week at least.

renalin on February 2, 2013 at 1:27 PM

“Senate Ethics Committee”

Hah. Hahahaha. Ahahahahahaa. Hahahahaha.

/Oxymoron

Key West Reader on February 2, 2013 at 1:29 PM

Senator Bob “Baby Girl” Menendez!

The Ruling Classers gift to New Jersey voters. How you like it Jersey? You re-elected this gem easily. Who was running against him Popeye the Sailor-Man? Daffy Duck? Stalin?

Was the other candidate that evil or incompetent? And the other guy you have representing you is Frank Lautenberg?

Whoa……Jersey is lost apparently.

PappyD61 on February 2, 2013 at 1:29 PM

Dem-O-Crat…

Hands off ..

BigWyo on February 2, 2013 at 1:30 PM

Media wonders: Why is Menendez intervening on behalf of a big campaign donor, anyway?

This is why it infuriates me that so many people (not here) think journalists are smart. They’re not. They’re live in the same bubble as the people they cover. They eat at the same restaurants. They read the same books. Drink the same wine. Whine the same whine about Fox, Rush, alternative media, Flyover Country, etc. They are completely lacking in discernment, judgment and analytical skills when it comes to reporting the news primarily because they are incapable of recognising what actually IS news.

Governor Sarah Palin buying a $2,500 tanning bed with her own money is NOT news. [Bluegill, I'm going to gut and filet you if you even open your mouth.] NO ONE CARES…Make that NO ONE SHOULD CARE.

Senator Bob Menendez intervening in the matter of a $500 million port contract on behalf of a campaign donor IS news. EVERYONE SHOULD CARE ABOUT THIS.

The fact that the MSM refuses to see this in itself speaks enough volumes about its own corruption, ignorance, and naïveté to fill the entire Library of Congress.

The MSM, always the last to know.

Resist We Much on February 2, 2013 at 1:31 PM

So when will Barry invoke “Executive Privilege”?

GarandFan on February 2, 2013 at 1:31 PM

So when will Barry invoke “Executive Privilege”?

GarandFan on February 2, 2013 at 1:31 PM

He can’t over the Legislative Branch.

Resist We Much on February 2, 2013 at 1:32 PM

Guess whose PAC Melgen unloaded beaucoup bucks into last year?

Harry Reid.

Of course, no one has ever accused Harry Reid of corruption.

Oh wait…

Resist We Much on February 2, 2013 at 1:35 PM

Don’t you love it when the media pretends they just stumbled into town with the egg money? Well, goolllly, they sure do things funny in the big city.

Cindy Munford on February 2, 2013 at 1:37 PM

Menendez: “I swear she said she was 13!!!”

tpitman on February 2, 2013 at 1:46 PM

Looks like Menendez isn’t just being held to account by “right-wing blogs” alone any more.

Silly Ed, Menendez is a Democrat, it is illegal to hold Democrats accountable for anything. Remember Rep. Gerry Studds (D-MA), who after being caught having a illegal sexual affair with an minor of the same sex was given a standing ovation on the House Floor by his fellow Democrats?

SWalker on February 2, 2013 at 1:47 PM

Senator Bob Menendez intervening in the matter of a $500 million port contract on behalf of a campaign donor IS news. EVERYONE SHOULD CARE ABOUT THIS.

The fact that the MSM refuses to see this in itself speaks enough volumes about its own corruption, ignorance, and naïveté to fill the entire Library of Congress.

The MSM, always the last to know.

Resist We Much on February 2, 2013 at 1:31 PM

And here I would have thought that it was the sex with minors that should have been the news story. As a lawyer, you should be well aware that under US Law, it is a felony to travel to another nation and take advantage or their lower or non existent age of consent laws.

SWalker on February 2, 2013 at 1:52 PM

He can’t over the Legislative Branch.

Resist We Much on February 2, 2013 at 1:32 PM

He can’t declare the Senate in recess, either. But he did.

BobMbx on February 2, 2013 at 1:53 PM

Chris Hansen: Memoirs of Pedophile Hunting

Chapter 12 – The Hidden Menendez Film

BobMbx on February 2, 2013 at 1:56 PM

The MSM, always the last to know.

Resist We Much on February 2, 2013 at 1:31 PM

They don’t want to know. The bigger issue is the law Menendez voted for, as a congressman, whereby senators can’t cavort with whores, minor or not. You, good one, reported on it the other day. If found guilty, he’d spend 30 years in prison.

And here I would have thought that it was the sex with minors that should have been the news story. As a lawyer, you should be well aware that under US Law, it is a felony to travel to another nation and take advantage or their lower or non existent age of consent laws.

SWalker on February 2, 2013 at 1:52 PM

She’s not guilty, as ‘charged’ :)

She reported on how even more guilty he is, beyond the minor, which is legal where he used minors.

I hope she provides her link, again, and her wonderful write-up on topic. RWM did post it the other day.

Schadenfreude on February 2, 2013 at 2:04 PM

No, but he has a lot of experience in crony capitalism and possibly corruption, it appears.

Which is something most supporters of amnesty for illegals in the government have in common, IMO.

FloatingRock on February 2, 2013 at 2:06 PM

Menendez will get his day, soon.

Obama will help to destroy him. Booker will be put in place by Christie.

Schadenfreude on February 2, 2013 at 2:07 PM

which is legal where he used minors.

Schadenfreude on February 2, 2013 at 2:04 PM

Not for an American it’s not. US law specifically makes it a felony for a US citizen to have sexual relations with a minor in another country regardless of whether it is legal in that nation or not.

SWalker on February 2, 2013 at 2:17 PM

Media wonders: Why is Menendez intervening on behalf of a big campaign donor, anyway?

…that’s odd!…The MSM has absolutley no curiosity when it comes to JugEars “bundlers” and tax breaks, government contracts, energy loans, etc. etc….did Menendez mess something up for the media?

KOOLAID2 on February 2, 2013 at 2:20 PM

SWalker on February 2, 2013 at 2:17 PM

Yes, and he, Menendez, as a congressman, voted for the law which would keep him in prison for 30 years, if found guilty. I predict Obama will help to nail him, and Christie will appoint Booker in his place.

The law forbids senators to hang out with whores, minor or not, domestic or foreign.

Schadenfreude on February 2, 2013 at 2:21 PM

Here’s proof that Menendez voted for the Protect Act.

Irony is indignant.

Schadenfreude on February 2, 2013 at 2:26 PM

SWalker on February 2, 2013 at 2:17 PM

Yes, and he, Menendez, as a congressman, voted for the law which would keep him in prison for 30 years, if found guilty. I predict Obama will help to nail him, and Christie will appoint Booker in his place.

The law forbids senators to hang out with whores, minor or not, domestic or foreign.

Schadenfreude on February 2, 2013 at 2:21 PM

Hmmm, I was not aware of that Law. So, Menendez is likely to end up in Federal “Pound him in the Assets” Prison on both pedophilia and illegal associating with a hooker charges. I wonder if he’ll get Randy “Duke” Cunningham’s old cell (Which honestly should be occupied by Dianne Feinstein)

SWalker on February 2, 2013 at 2:27 PM

No peeve with you, good SWalker, of course.

RWM had mentioned the law a few days ago.

Schadenfreude on February 2, 2013 at 2:27 PM

SWalker on February 2, 2013 at 2:27 PM

Just found and linked it, above.

Schadenfreude on February 2, 2013 at 2:28 PM

Where was all of this “wondering” last year?

besser tot als rot on February 2, 2013 at 2:28 PM

Heh, Kucinich voted against the law, the commie scum.

Schadenfreude on February 2, 2013 at 2:30 PM

Where was all of this “wondering” last year?

besser tot als rot on February 2, 2013 at 2:28 PM

Another cover up ahead of the election, like jobs, Benghazi and so much more.

Schadenfreude on February 2, 2013 at 2:30 PM

I predict Obama will help to nail him, and Christie will appoint Booker in his place.

Schadenfreude on February 2, 2013 at 2:21 PM

Why not Geraldo?

besser tot als rot on February 2, 2013 at 2:31 PM

The law forbids senators to hang out with whores, minor or not, domestic or foreign.

Schadenfreude on February 2, 2013 at 2:21 PM

Then they should all be arrested after the next session for associating with each other.

VegasRick on February 2, 2013 at 2:32 PM

****Earth-Quake Alert *********

6.1-Santa Cruz

and earlier,

6.9-HOKKAIDO, JAPAN REGION

http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/recenteqsww/Quakes/quakes_all.php

canopfor on February 2, 2013 at 2:40 PM

Why not Geraldo?

besser tot als rot on February 2, 2013 at 2:31 PM

Because Booker can be the next black president.

Schadenfreude on February 2, 2013 at 2:49 PM

****Earth-Quake Alert *********

6.1-Santa Cruz ISLAND….

canopfor on February 2, 2013 at 2:40 PM

Just needed to clarify that so nobody would think it was in Santa Cruz California.

SWalker on February 2, 2013 at 2:50 PM

And here I would have thought that it was the sex with minors that should have been the news story. As a lawyer, you should be well aware that under US Law, it is a felony to travel to another nation and take advantage or their lower or non existent age of consent laws.

SWalker on February 2, 2013 at 1:52 PM

I know all of that, but the intervention in the port contract was known BEFORE the DC broke the story about the underage hookers right before the election.

Resist We Much on February 2, 2013 at 3:28 PM

Schadenfreude on February 2, 2013 at 2:27 PM

Indeed, I did. It is called the PROTECT Act (“Prosecutorial Remedies and Other Tools to end the Exploitation of Children Today”) and Menendez voted for it when he was in the House.

[I still love you SWalker]

Resist We Much on February 2, 2013 at 3:31 PM

He can’t declare the Senate in recess, either. But he did.

BobMbx on February 2, 2013 at 1:53 PM

And, the DC Ct of Ap just ruled that he did so UNCONSTITUTIONALLY.

Resist We Much on February 2, 2013 at 3:33 PM

The age old question: What would the media be doing now if Bobby was a Republican?

Old eagle on February 2, 2013 at 3:34 PM

Here’s the endgame. Menendez is forced to resign, as so many Jersey Dems have had to do. Christie, in a bid for an overwhelming reelection, think Giuliani in 1997, names Corey Booker as interim senator keeping the seat Dem and saving the Dems from the ugly primary that is now in the offing between Booker and Lautenberg (Think 1980 Javits v D’Amato). Christie is lauded by every paper from D.C. to Boston and this diminishes Cuomo to a bit player ending his run for the nomination in 16. Christie loves himself and hates all things Cuomo and this results in both feelings being satisfied.

xkaydet65 on February 2, 2013 at 3:38 PM

Famous politician quotes.

“ask not what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country”. JFK

“Four score and seven years ago” Lincoln

” this program will save you money and you’ll still be able to keep your insurance program” obama

“I like to butt F*@k small boys and girls” menendez

acyl72 on February 2, 2013 at 3:47 PM

This is a tough call for the media… which type of prostitutes do they identify with and support the most, the Democrat ones or the underage ones? I’m guessing that at their level of experience, it’s the Dems.

drunyan8315 on February 2, 2013 at 3:52 PM

Where was all of this “wondering” last FIVE year?

besser tot als rot on February 2, 2013 at 2:28 PM

updated for accuracy.

hillsoftx on February 2, 2013 at 4:37 PM

FBI should show the prostitutes the pictures of Clinton, Teddy and Dodd to see if they participated in any of the orgies.

Sticky Wicket on February 2, 2013 at 9:39 PM

Look up pediofile and you will find menendez’s picture. Why would the libs, even someone as twisted as harry reid want a turd like menendez in their club?

StevC on February 4, 2013 at 11:01 AM