One of the biggest scandals in politics is one you may not be aware. The media have refused to cover what should be earth-shattering news. New Jersey Democratic Senator Bob Menenedez faces a trial for corruption and bribery. A Judge just ruled that he must face the charges in court.
Menendez stands accused of exchanging political favors for campaign contributions to a Florida eye doctor named Salomen Melgen. Melgen also gave the senator flights on private jets and luxurious vacations.
This trial is a long time coming. Menendez was indicted in April 2015. He allegedly took hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes. Estimates range those payments exceeded $750,000. He then helped Melgen in a multimillion-dollar dispute:
“The Justice Deptartment alleges Menendez received nearly $1 million worth of gifts and campaign contributions from Melgen. In turn, Menendez allegedly intervened on Melgen’s behalf in a multimillion-dollar billing dispute with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and attempted to enforce a $500 million port security contract with the Dominican Republic, as well as obtaining visa applications for several of Melgen’s girlfriends.”
He also supposedly helped Melgen with visa applications for three girlfriends. Melgen returned the favor with a $5,000 vacation in Paris for Menendez and his girlfriend.
Melgen was convicted in April after being accused of stealing around $105 million from Medicare. He allegedly gave patients unnecessary tests and treatments.
Menenedez argues that he was performing an “official act” to help Melgen and based on the Supreme Court’s ruling for former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell, are invalid:
“U.S. District Court Judge William Walls said the determination of whether Menendez performed an ‘official act’ in his attempts to benefit Melgen will be made during the trial, which is set to begin on Sept. 6.
“‘Whether the acts alleged in the Superseding Indictment satisfy the definition of an ‘official act’ under McDonnell is a factual determination that cannot be resolved before the Government has the opportunity to present evidence at trial,’ wrote Walls in his rejection of the dismissal request.”
The fact that he has not resigned is astounding. If a Republican was accused of these crimes you can be sure the media would hound him until he left office in disgrace. But since the media has not covered this story adequately, Menendez gets a free pass.
You can read the whole indictment here (pdf).