Tale of Two Scandals: The Striking Similarities in the Menendez and Biden Cases

Below is my column in USA Today on what the Menendez indictment might say about the Hunter Biden investigation. From the luxury cars to massive amounts of money to even their choice of counsel, the two scandals have striking similarities.

Here is the column:

In February 2019, Sen. Bob Menendez was having nightmares. The Democratic senator from New Jersey said he was haunted by a question that “keeps me up at night” — whether President Donald Trump was compromised by the Russian government because of past secret dealings.

Menendez’s restless nights also may have had something to do with the fact that at the time, he was allegedly accepting lavish gifts from various sources in exchange for using his Senate seat to bestow favors.

The indictment of Menendez and his wife last week included details of alleged bribes that went to the senator in exchange for revealing sensitive, nonpublic information to Egyptian contacts less than a year before his sleep-deprived speech.

Menendez denied the accusations on Friday. However, even if half of this indictment is true, Menendez is toast. He was able to dodge a bullet in 2017 when a jury hung over a separate series of corruption charges involving lavish gifts. This time, the Justice Department says it has photos of thousands of dollars in cash stuffed in clothing, a luxury car, gold bars and other gifts.

That would keep anyone up at night, but there may be one other insomniac this week: Hunter Biden’s lawyer Abbe Lowell.

The Menendez indictment likely proved chilling reading for Lowell, who not only represents President Joe Biden’s son but also represented Menendez in his prior bribery trial.

There are striking similarities between the Menendez and Biden cases.

While Hunter Biden was allegedly selling access to and influence with his father, he also allegedly received massive payments. His associate Devon Archer told Congress that they were selling the Biden family “brand,” and that Joe Biden was “the brand.”

Like Menendez, Hunter Biden allegedly received a luxury car from his foreign clients. For the senator, the Justice Department says it was a $60,000 Mercedes-Benz. For the president’s son, investigators say it was a $142,000 Fisker sports car.

Menendez allegedly received gold bars worth up to $120,000. Biden received a diamond allegedly worth $80,000.

Indeed, the alleged object of these payments was influence with then-Vice President Biden, when he was the presiding officer of the Senate. Menendez was one of the nation’s most powerful senators at the time.

There are also dealings that reference Hunter Biden and his associates in the Menendez matter. When the senator was trying to arrange for Joe Biden to host a foreign event, an aide to Menendez reportedly reached out to Hunter Biden’s associates.

While the president’s son is accused of peddling influence, in Menendez’s case, it is his wife who is accused of acting as a go-between with those trying to buy the senator’s attention. Nadine Menendez allegedly had lunches and countless communications with people, who, according to the indictment, sought favors from the senator.

Nadine Menendez allegedly knew the co-defendants before she married the senator in 2020. The couple met at an IHOP, but he fittingly proposed to her in 2019 at the Taj Mahal on a trip to India. The setting for the proposal would foretell the lavish gifts to come.

Like Hunter, Nadine started an international consulting company, Strategic International Business Consultants, after being unemployed before meeting the senator. She found ample business.

Like Hunter, she is accused of marketing her ability to deliver access to her husband. In March 2020, she allegedly texted an Egyptian official that “anytime you need anything you have my number and we will make everything happen.”

There is of course a major difference between the Biden and Menendez cases: Menendez and his wife are being criminally charged for their alleged influence peddling.

The Justice Department has not only let the statute of limitations run out on the most serious tax charges against Hunter Biden, but it also has not charged the president’s son under the Foreign Agents Registration Act.

Despite charging figures like Paul Manafort for similar accusations, prosecutors have avoided charges in the Biden case that would put Hunter at the center of a corruption prosecution. Instead, they sought an embarrassing “sweetheart deal” that collapsed in court.

In the Menendez case, investigators left no stone unturned in tracing gifts and money. In the Biden case, a special agent with the IRS testified before Congress that the Bidens were tipped off on planned searches and an attempt to interview the president’s son.

As the Justice Department grinds Menendez into a fine powder, it is likely to draw more attention to the relatively light touch shown Hunter Biden. It is, as Menendez said on the Senate floor in 2019, the type of thing that keeps you up at night.

Jonathan Turley, a member of USA TODAY’s Board of Contributors, is the Shapiro professor of Public Interest Law at George Washington University. Follow him on X, formerly Twitter: @JonathanTurley


217 thoughts on “Tale of Two Scandals: The Striking Similarities in the Menendez and Biden Cases”

    1. “Ocasio Cortez from New York, Frost from Florida and Crockett from Texas!! “

      Ok, Goldman and now these screechers? How about the red head from NM, wasnt she something?
      And the little black girl talking about what a great dad joe was. All he did was raise 2 drug addicts and show them how to get away with sexual assault, even on camera. Showers with his daughter and constantly lying about his background and stealing valor from gold star families. Good dad indeed.

      1. LOL pretty sure thats you, sux to be in the minority. but who is surprised by projection from the queer guy with the blind eye? Simmmmmmmaaaaaa

  1. Happy Ranting Friday! Not entirely off-topic, since a few ranters here could use a brief refresher course on the Art of Ranting:

  2. With the de-emphasis in Civics education in K-12 and higher education, including law schools, the need for the citizenry and their elected officials to be schooled in matters ‘Constitutional’ by outside experts will continue to be paramount.

  3. Menendez was only prosecuted both times because he publicly criticized President Obama. Anyone that criticized Obama or made him look bad wound up being investigated by the FBI (remember the professor prosecuted for mail fraud/over billing because he said he told the Obama administration that under Obama care you would not be able to keep your doctor or plan). Had Menendez kept his mouth shut and kissed the ring, the Dem controlled DOJ would have looked the other way and Menendez would have gotten away with it.

  4. Dear Prof Turley,

    So, that’s a ‘fisker’ sports car.

    There are a few things that distinguish Hunter’s quest for the Holy Grail of political power that Menendez will never have. For example, over 50 top intelligence officials, including the past 5 CIA directors, have never claimed Bob&Nadine’s personal/laptop correspondence is Russian disinformation. .. maybe that’s what’s keeping him up at night?

    *you need to have a talk with AOC et el .. . they think you’re on their ‘team’

  5. 𝐖𝐨𝐤𝐞 𝐂𝐨𝐮𝐫𝐬𝐞𝐬 – 𝐒𝐖𝐀𝐌𝐏 𝟏𝟎𝟏:

    𝐓𝐡𝐞 𝐞𝐚𝐫𝐦𝐚𝐫𝐤𝐬 𝐀𝐝𝐚𝐦 𝐒𝐜𝐡𝐢𝐟𝐟 𝐝𝐞𝐥𝐢𝐯𝐞𝐫𝐞𝐝 𝐟𝐨𝐫 𝐝𝐨𝐧𝐨𝐫𝐬
    The Democratic congressman for years secured earmarks for defense companies while taking campaign donations from top corporate brass and Washington lobbyists.
    By: Christopher Cadelago ~ 09/25/2023

    opensecrets.org data:

    1. It was as predictable as the Sun rising tomorrow, the way the good professor was treated yesterday by Democrats.

  6. “There is of course a major difference between the Biden and Menendez cases:”

    That the Left threw Menendez to the wolves, for the *appearance* of the rule of law.

    That the Left activated its Praetorian Guard (and the MSM lackeys) to shield the kleptocratic Biden family. Why? Because JB is their only hope to “get Trump.” And because Obama wants a fourth term.

  7. Today we’ll hear endless objections stating “there is no evidence.” These claims are disingenuous. A large monetary benefit to a government official’s spouse or child is a benefit to the official. Just because he knows he should have the payoff money redirected to his family member does not make him less corrupt.

    1. “But but but the shutdown!!!”

      AOC complains that there is a vote tonight on the CR. Millions will starve and Republicans don’t care!!!

      Ask her how she will vote…

    2. OK, but does the law make it clear that use of a standoff agent is just as illegal as the govt. official taking the $ directly? I want Congress to keep to a lawmaking perspective: What do people in DC think they can get away with? Seems as though they think there’s some wiggle room in the law re: influence peddling.

    3. So large monetary gifts to Trump’s kids while he was in office were a benefit to Trump?

      That you believe this does not make it true.

    4. Today we’ll hear endless objections stating “there is no evidence.”

      Of course they will, oldman. That’s their only play. Republicans should get them on the record defining what they consider evidence.

      1. Of course they will, oldman. That’s their only play.

        It depends which way the wind is blowing, whether Democrats have their fingers in their ears and sticking out their tongue, poking the eyes of the witnesses or shooting at them with their violent words.

        It would be unfortunate if Americans came to believe that they needed to adopt the stance of Korean Americans on rooftops during the 1992 LA Riots. America has become, from coast to coast, a 1992 LA Riots.

        1. Estovir – fascinating history lesson. I would bet their example saved not only LA but also other large American cities from destruction.

          1. Heather McDonald wrote an excellent piece on blacks, anti-Asian violence and the 1992 LA Riots.

            Race and False Hate Crime Narratives
            written by Heather Mac Donald

            Inner-city animus against Asian small business owners is also longstanding, as the 1992 Los Angeles riots and the 1990 Big Apple grocery boycott in New York City recall. The predominantly black character of the attacks on elderly Asians may be euphemistically acknowledged in only one context: disparate impact. ….


            The lie about white supremacist violence is not innocuous. It forms the basis of the Biden administration’s policy in national security and in a host of domestic welfare programs. It is the pretext for Big Tech and Big Media’s silencing of speech. And the shamelessness with which that lie is constructed grows more brazen by the day. It must be fought with facts before it irrevocably alters our culture.

        2. Estovir, I can tell you from first-hand experience, that is not the world we want to live in. I was stationed at the Long Beach Naval Station during those riots. Normally I would commute to the base from Buena Park. On one trip into the base, I had a carload of thugs pull up alongside me flashing weapons to pull over. I immediately swerved to an offramp and they missed it. When I got to the base, they were locking the base down and were doing their best to alert servicemembers to not travel to the base.

          The Democratic party is pure evil. I have no doubt their gun control activism is to serve one purpose, disarm the law-abiding citizens so that their criminal useful idiots wreck havoc on this country unopposed. Once they’ve completely destroyed any expectation safety and security of rights, then they’ll unleashed the jackboots to take out their useful idiots and impose their will on what and who remains in this country.

    1. Didn’t some trans-non-binary-dude in the current Misadministration get into hot water for doing that?

        1. Oh, I see – it’s fine to simply steal luggage – Sam Brinton’s only crime was pretending to be Hunter in a dress. Got it – thanks.

        2. Did anyone check those suitcases to see what was really in them? Maybe Joe decided to get himself a less conspicuous bag man.

  8. I assume the corrupt for democrat IRS and Doj explain to how to cheat

    Our fascist democrat RINO government is 100% corrupt. Judges as well

  9. Only a Dem is capable of literally not seeing what their eyes are showing them. They don’t call them Yellow Dog Democrats for nothing.

      1. ” . . . it’s the most-bipartisan disease in history, . . .”

        With the possible exception of syphilis.

  10. Both are American NAZIS aka National Socialist Democrat WOKE Party. Hmmm, I see a connection here.

    The most corrupt president in US History. Carter had integrity with socialist policies. Current NAZIS have none.

    It was all fun and games when it was Trump being impeached.

    As my Mom always said “laughing leads to crying”.

    The whining and nashing of teeth is so sweet to the ears.

    1. I posted that Casablanca clip — and it took TWO tries to get it to post. Is the website having technical problems?

      1. Which URL did you use—one of those presented by a right-click on the video or the one in the address box at the top of the page?

        It’s like, randomly, some do and some don’t.

        1. address box — it appears to have been a glitch. I’ve noticed that that sometimes happens very early in the morning.

      1. Wally, the laptop has significant monetary value. You traded critical thinking skills for the art of ankle-biting, which leaves you crawling, trying to get up to speed.

      2. Wally. Dont need chain of custody. Large swaths of the data has been corroborated by individuals including Hunter Himself, who has yet to deny the accuracy of any of the content

    1. A few key parts need to be highlighted,

      “The FBI had corroborated it indeed belonged to Hunter Biden and had not been tampered with months earlier, according to evidence recently made public by two IRS whistleblowers. CBS News commissioned a forensic analysis of the laptop and also reported that it “shows no evidence of tampering or fabrication.”

      “The Director of National Intelligence also had determined the laptop was not part of a foreign influence operation.”

      1. The Just The News article I linked is WELL worth reading and taking the time to exam, since it has a veritable cornucopia of links in it. It’s as thoroughly documented an article as anyone is likely to find these days on ANY subject.

        1. Ralph, your comment about JTN is the difference between JTN and the MSM, which uses unverified information from anonymous people, which is the cause for the MSM to be wrong most of the time on significant political issues.

          Many on the left claim Solomon to be a liar (ATS did that in the past), but Solomon has proven accurate most of the time. Why should he be accurate? Because he bases most of his opinions on things reviewable by all.

  11. They’re both ‘pendejos’, a word both should understand. Menendez being of Hispanic heritage, and Biden, by his own admission, having been raised in an Hispanic community,

    1. Wait – I thought that was a Jewish community? Or was it a blue-collar white community? Or maybe you’re right, and it’s a Hispanic community. Honestly, Biden is Zelig-like – or maybe more Forest Gump, minus about 20 IQ points.

  12. The difference between the two scandals is:

    Menedez has a government job; Hunter does not and never has.

    A better comparison would be between Menendez and Jared Kushner, who both had government jobs and both got a lot of money from foreign sources.

    1. Joe Biden had and currently has a government job, as has Menendez; Menendez’ wife has not, as Hunter Biden has not. The influencers had government jobs, the intermediaries did not. It’s pretty simple, really – if you try very hard, I am sure you’ll grasp it.

      1. Ellen….you are quite correct in the point you are making with one small exception…..the only “job” with the Federal Government young Hunter had…..he got fired from for using drugs.

        As you recall….Daddy finagled Hunter a Commission in the Navy…..and Hunter failed a Drug Test and was discharged as being unfit to serve.

        In time, with hope, we shall see the same for Joe Biden and Bob Mendenez.

        1. The tense I used for Hunter Biden and Mrs. Menendez was the present. My only reference including a past tense was to Faux Joe.

    2. Kushner was no longer an advisor to the President. The Saudi Prince needed to get his $ out and working, so Kushner is looking for deals . . . no crime there. Obama gets out and takes $90 million (?) from Netflix, with no background in any meaningful job and that’s ok? Well, after all he WAS a community organizer (rabble rouser)!

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