220px-Robert_Menendez,_official_Senate_photo220px-DryToastThe allegations against Senator Robert Menendez have moved to a point of no return in my view. Menendez has been accused of liaisons with underage girls on trips arranged by a wealthy campaign donor and friend. He denies the allegations. However, in my view, he should lose his seat over a confirmed fact: he accepted $60,000 in travel benefits from the wealthy donor who benefited from legislative action by Menendez. Menendez recently paid back the money, but it required him to liquidate as much as 87 percent of his personal wealth — making the benefit even more significant to the Senator.

I have long criticized (here and here and here) the acceptance of trips by members of Congress — Democratic and Republican — by different groups as well as government-funded junkets.

In this case, Menendez enjoyed $58,000 worth of trips to the Dominican Republic paid for by Florida eye doctor and political donor Salomon Melgen. At these parties, Menendez is accused of having sex with underaged girls including one who says that she sleep with the Senator on repeated occasions.

Menendez reimbursed Melgen the $58,500 on January 4th after the media got hold of the story. He emphasized that fact that he has little personal wealth, though that would make these gifts even more significant in their impact to him and more difficult to forget. Indeed, it is as worrisome that such trips, according to Menendez, “fell through the cracks” given the significance of their value.

Melgen and his wife have given tens of thousands of dollars to Menendez as well as having their company give $700,000 to a super PAC dedicated to electing Senate Democrats. That group, Majority PAC, gave $582,500 to Menendez’s campaign.

Menendez has been plagued by continual ethical issues from alleged sweetheart deals on rental properties to, in 2010, a troubling intervention for campaign donors. Menendez wrote to Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke to ask him to approve an acquisition that would rescue a bank from receivership, a New Jersey bank, First Bank Americano, operated by his contributors. The letter was later described by a federal bank regulator, William Black, as “grotesquely inappropriate.”

It seems to me that, regardless of the child prostitution allegations, Menendez has again crossed the line and shown that corruption continues in both parties unabated. While Menendez remains a powerful ally of President Obama and leader in the party, he should be toast on the issue of the gift alone but in the perverse world of congressional ethics he could well survive this latest scandal.

Source: National Journal

43 thoughts on “TOAST?

  1. But he hates Castro and Cuba since they kicked his kind out of Cuba. So it is NO surprise that he engages in such behavior. He is also in favor of amnesty for other crooks who enter the US illegally. So even in his politics he has a large appetite and support for corruption.

  2. It seems to me that, regardless of the child prostitution allegations, Menendez has again crossed the line and shown that corruption continues in both parties unabated.”


    The corruption is from top to bottom and side to side, no doubts about it.

    The big story is that this is practically ancient history and our self serving “history” is in large part mythological.

  3. Yes Menendez should resign based on accepting the travel gifts alone. However, after he does there should be further investigation of people in Congress accepting such gifts. This is a widespread practice and is a hallmark of the corruption in government at all levels. Most importantly though is the overturning of Citizens United and the methods of political campaigning in general.

  4. Have you noticed how the Boards of Directors of large corporations have used the total lack of oversight and controls to squeeze every possible penny out of companies and workers and into their pockets and their friends pockets? That the Senate & House member are doing the same thing, and for the same reason: “who’s gonna stop us?” should not come as a surprise.

    Its going to take a lot of people getting angry about the right things instead of the shiny distractions being thrown up before we ever get this straightened out. I doubt that will ever happen.

  5. Maybe it is because I am a democrat but it seems that David Vitter’s criminal activities with prostitutes got an essentially free pass but I read recently a large number in congress have charges or are being investigated

  6. Absolutely, Toast.
    I saw the interview with NBC where he denied everything a few days ago and his passionate plea about anonymous charges brought to mind Sen Reid’s accusation about Romney not paying taxes. What a bunch of hypocrites. And it is for this reason I have little hope of the Senate actually disciplining one of their own when nearly every one is guilty of same. And this is in regards to the things that have been admitted to as facts, put the child sex aside and he still deserves to go.
    We have a serious problem in this country and it is not the criminals or terrorists banging at the gate, it is the morons running the country.

  7. “Menendez recently paid back the money, but it required him to liquidate as much as 87 percent of his personal wealth “

    And of course there are no offshore hidden bank accounts either.

  8. He’s from New Jersey, he’ll get re-elected, he probably won’t even get a slap on the hand.

    But New Jersey isn’t special: look at Charlie Rangel or Maxine Waters – same circus, different clowns

  9. I make no party distinction nor presumption when it comes to corruption, I only mention other high-media focused examples. If anything it may be a regional exposure bias.

    Feel free to form your own equality committee to ensure equal representation, but that is not my area of interest nor expertise.

    Corrupt is corrupt – and justice should be blind

  10. I think the calls on his toastness are premature. Most pols are shameless, something we peasants w/ a conscience have a hard time understanding. That’s why we make so many wrong calls.

  11. if you ask me, a congressman/senator who is only worth about 90k is someone who should stick around. He obviously isnt lining his pockets at tax payer expense.

  12. . . . And as ’tis folly to suppose that princes will always be wise, just and good, when we know that few have been able alone to bear the weight of a government, or to resist the temptations to ill, that accompany an unlimited power, it would be madness to presume they will for the future be
    free from infirmities and vices. . . .

    Algernon Sidney

    . . . If the public safety be provided, liberty and propriety secured, justice administered, virtue
    encouraged, vice suppressed, and the true interest of the nation advanced, the ends of government are accomplished; and the highest must be contented with such a proportion of glory and majesty as is
    consistent with the public; since the magistracy is not instituted, nor any person placed in it for the increase of his majesty, but for the preservation of the whole people, and the defence of the liberty, life and estate of every private man. . . .

    Algernon Sidney

  13. OMG, OMG such fabulous liveliness here.

    “going to take a lot of people getting angry about the right things instead of the shiny distractions being thrown up before we ever get this straightened out. I doubt that will ever happen.”

    The odd thing is that the public (or somebody) got some Senators aroused and they challenged Obama on his right to delegate killing us without trials to his lower echelon (how low Mr Prez?).

    Can we effect things or is this just an expression of opportunism on the part of Senators?

    Dredd sums it up but many others should share the praise from here.

    BTW, the story goes that LBJ convinced Warren to lead the JFK commission after threatening exposure of similar sort with young girls (or boys?) in Brazil. (Remember the movie “Boys in Brazil”?)

    Thoughts from a wondering wandering mind.

  14. Paul,

    “We have a serious problem in this country and it is not the criminals or terrorists banging at the gate, it is the morons running the country.”
    You got it, but just for laughs I add:
    We got the products of the system leading us. And some declare them to be (hypocritical) psychopaths/sociopaths/former DA’s.

    Any aspiring DA’s here? Nope, this place would be a waste of time for a good psychopath/aspiring pol.

  15. Isn’t the Dominican Republic where a certain radio personality was visiting with improper prescriptions in his possession?
    If Menendez had sex with underage girls, he should be gone from the Senate and he should be charged with any criminal wrongdoing. As Mike S. and Leejcaroll suggested, if we are going to indict Mr. Menendez, there are a few others that need to be cleaned out for taking benefits from corporate donors.
    While we are at it, what about Supreme Court Justices who take gifts and trips with litigants?

  16. The child sex bit will probably fall by the wayside. It’s too hot to handle because it’s more common among the political class than anybody is willing to admit.

    It’s not just priests and coaches and Burlesconi and Dominique Strauss-Kahn and Jeffrey Epstein and Prince Andrew and the Bushes and diplomats with immunity

    This is organized. They kidnap children from orphanages where nobody will miss them, and turn them into sex slaves.

  17. I thought that in America one has the right to a presumption of innocence until one is found guilty AFTER a full exploration of evidence and the cross-examination of that evidence in an unbiased court of law.

  18. I have to admit my first reaction Wow that is all the money he has! Bron’s comments and mine coincide.

    Of course that tells you a lot about the people we have in congress. But there it is.

  19. If he was a French parliamentarian or head of a cabinet post and he wandered off the Reservation in The Dominican Republic (for which it stands), he would probably be given some award for porkin so many at one sitting in one setting. But, here in America we are prudish and our politicians can not go to Vegas or points south and have any fun with the opposite sex. Big deal. Pork em if ya gottem is what we say in the dogpac. At least he is not overweight, sitting in the Governor’s Office and eating off the public trough like some RepubliCon in Jersey.

  20. anonymosuly posted,

    “This week, he succeeded John Kerry as chairman of the prestigious Senate Foreign Relations Committee.”

    How fitting that he be named chairman of the committee on “foreign relations.” It sounds like he has a lot of experience in that area.

  21. The DR is the USA’s Thailand, it is the sex tourism destination of the moment. A quick search will reveal which areas and cities specialize in what and I even saw a brief tutorial by a travel agency on how to treat the ladies that were not professionally affiliated (but are ‘welcoming’ of tourists) that can be found in just about every hotel lounge. That, for the tourists not interested in visiting brothels.

    The lady tourists are not left out; there is a thriving business in men for female tourists.

    In general if you’re a tourist looking for men and boys hit the beach, for a woman visit the hotels and brothels. I suspect that guidance is pretty universal though, no matter what the country. :-)

    Taking gifts from political donors to visit the DR is all one needs to know about the “Honorable Gentleman”. He needs to be gone.

    And what Indigo Jones said.

  22. That’s why various canons of ethics speak to not giving even ‘the appearance of (impropriety)’. Is not circumstantial evidence still allowed in some court proceedings?

  23. No one has said he shouldn’t have a trial. Personally, I’d love it. And one for every member of Congress or the Judiciary who has taken such gifts. However, a rose by any other name . . . and that saying about walking like a duck. The only thing I’m personally presuming is that on its face, his actions merit further investigation and charges. Corruption and malfeasance of office harm not just his constituents but democracy itself ergo the appearance of such should be taken quite seriously.

  24. The Dominican Republic is one of the worst places in the world for child sex tourism, and the bulk of those who engage in the trade are whites from North America and Europe. Remember the attempted kidnapping of Haitian children by the “New Life Children’s Refuge” cult after the 2009 earthquake? There’s some suggestion they were taking the children to the DR specifically for that purpose. Laura Silsby, who ran the “Refuge” has been charged with commercial fraud in Idaho, including non-payment of creditors and non-payment of wages to employees.

    If it turned out that the accusations against Menendez were true, it wouldn’t surprise me. For any who forgot or missed it, the DR is where Rush Limbaugh had obtained viagra illegally before being arrested on his return to the US.

    “The Dominican Republic is a source, transit, and destination country for men, women, and children subjected to sex trafficking and forced labor. Reports indicate that Dominican women and children are subjected to sex trafficking throughout the Dominican Republic, the Caribbean, Europe, South America, the Middle East, and the United States. Additionally, child sex tourism is a problem, particularly in coastal resort areas of the Dominican Republic, with child sex tourists arriving year-round from the United States and European countries.”

  25. T his guy’s a pauper each of the 20 wealthest people in congress is worth at least 90 Million makes you wonder who they’re screwing.

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