Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) has been indicted on corruption charges on Wednesday. He was accused of utilizing his position of power to inappropriately benefit a Florida ophthalmologist and political donor. The indictment charged Menendez with 14 counts of corruption, including conspiracy and bribery. Dr. Salomon Melgen, the doctor, was also charged.
The indictment from a New Jersey grand jury is just the latest development in the federal investigation that rose publicly after Melgen’s office was raided over two years ago. The investigation’s main purpose was to determine whether or not Melendez had wrongfully advocated on Melgen’s behalf.
Menendez stated he traveled on Melgen’s private jet on numerous occasions, including many trips to Dominican Republic, all of which he did not pay for. In 2013, he agreed to reimburse the doctor $58,500 for the cost of only two flights. Last year, Menendez recorded that his campaign accounts had paid a law firm over $250,000 for costs due to investigation by the Justice Department and the Senate Ethics Committee for his aforesaid actions.
The senator is now the first sitting U.S. senator to face an indictment since Senator Ted Stevens (R-AK) did, in 2008. Menendez was elected to the Senate in 2006, following a decade-long career in the House of Representatives.
By Alex Lemieux
Photo by Latino Leaders Network – Flickr License