It seems the FBI still has some interest in the allegations surrounding Senator Bob Menendez and his travel to the Dominican Republic. Late last night, the Miami Herald’s Marc Caputo reported that the FBI conducted a raid on the offices of Dr. Salomon Melgen, who has been linked to allegations that Menendez frequented prostitutes on those trips, with a recent allegation that one or more may have been underage.
FBI agents raided the West Palm Beach business of an eye doctor suspected of providing free trips and even underage Dominican Republic prostitutes to New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez — who has denied what he calls the “fallacious allegations.”
Agents gathered at the medical-office complex of Dr. Salomon Melgen, a contributor to Menendez and other prominent politicians, late Tuesday night to start hauling away potential evidence in about a dozen white vans.
The investigation is believed to be focusing on Melgen’s finances and the allegations about Menendez’s trips and contact with prostitutes. A spokesman for Menendez could not be reached for comment, nor could Melgen.
A later report from the Herald explained about Melgen’s finances in more detail:
Melgen has an outstanding IRS lien of $11.1 million for taxes owed from 2006 to 2009, according to records filed with the Palm Beach County recorder’s office. A previous IRS lien for $6.2 million was released in 2011.
Despite those financial problems, Melgen and his family have contributed at least $357,000 to candidates and committees since 1998, according to Florida and federal campaign records. Of that, the Melgens have contributed about 9 percent to Menendez’s federal campaigns.
This reporter broke the story while writing for TheDC last year, and interviewed two Dominican Republic women in November who claimed Menendez paid them for sex around Easter-time last year. The encounter apparently took place at Casa de Campo, a posh 7,000-acre resort in the Dominican Republic. Each woman told this reporter that Menendez had agreed to pay them $500 for sex but only paid them $100.
Emails published online last week support this reporter’s original accounts by confirming the existence of an FBI investigation. On August 1, 2012, the FBI had opened an inquiry into Menendez’s alleged prostitution solicitation—mainly because one of the prostitutes Menendez allegedly paid for sex was allegedly underage.
On Monday, Breitbart News’ Kerry Picket pressed Menendez on the issue. Menendez told Picket that he wasn’t “going to dignify that story” when she asked for comment.
That led to a truly jaw-dropping spectacle yesterday. As Menendez bailed out of a presser regarding Hurricane Sandy relief funding, Harry Reid lashed out at the Daily Caller for raising the questions in the first place:
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid lashed out at The Daily Caller on Tuesday for running a series of stories since November containing allegations that Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez slept with prostitutes in the Dominican Republic.
“I always consider the source,” Reid said, referring to TheDC, “and all anyone here has to look at is the source where this comes from. It’s — it’s a source that has brought up a lot of non-issues.” …
“I’ve told you how I feel about the source of this stuff. It’s really very, very typical for the source,” he added, again talking about TheDC.
Er … what? Let’s remind everyone that this is the same Harry Reid who repeatedly insisted that “sources” told him that Mitt Romney was a tax-cheating felon, while Reid insisted that the burden of proof was on Romney to prove himself innocent. No matter how one feels about the Menendez story, Reid has exactly zero standing to complain about allegations and their sourcing. That’s as breathtakingly shameless and hypocritical as it gets.
Furthermore, it’s as bad at timing as you’re likely to see in politics, either. The FBI raid is going to put egg on Reid’s face, and the spotlight on Menendez just as Reid elevates him to the chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.