The top Republican on the U.S. Senate Ethics Committee said the panel is reviewing allegations that New Jersey Sen. Robert Menendez, a Democrat, received improper gifts from a Florida doctor whose office was raided by the FBI this week.
The FBI on Jan. 29 searched the West Palm Beach, Florida, office of Salomon Melgen, an eye doctor and longtime Menendez friend and donor, according to the Miami Herald.
Menendez, the new chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, wrote a $58,500 check Jan. 4 to reimburse Melgen for two 2010 trips the lawmaker took to the Dominican Republic on Melgen’s private jet, Menendez spokeswoman Tricia Enright said in an interview Friday. Enright said the reimbursement came after a review of Menendez’s travel records and that the trips hadn’t been disclosed on the senator’s financial disclosure form because of an oversight.
“We are aware of the news reports regarding the FBI raid on Dr. Melgen’s office,” Georgia Senator Johnny Isakson, the top Republican on the six-member Ethics Committee, said in a statement.
Not that many Ethics Committee investigations ever result in harsh punishment, but coupled with the FBI investigation, the heat’s certainly on. We’re sure Bobby would much prefer a censure in the Senate as opposed to prison time for banging 16-year-old hookers, among other offense. Meanwhile, the AP chronicles some Menendez chicanery from years past for those not familiar with what a corrupt hack he’s been. Props also to the New York Post, naturally, for today’s best Menendez headline.