Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ)

Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ)

Under Investigation by: The Senate Ethics Committee and the DOJ.

Under Investigation for: Sen. Menendez is under investigation for accepting gifts from a donor who flew him to the Dominican Republic on a private jet.  Sen. Menendez acknowledged taking two flights from Florida eye doctor Salomon Melgen and failed to declare the flights as gifts on his personal financial disclosure forms.  In January 2013, more than two years after taking the trips and after questions were raised publicly about them, Sen. Menendez paid for them with a personal check of $58,500.  Dan O’Brien, the senator’s chief of staff, said the delay in paying for the trips was “an oversight,” and characterized it as “sloppy.” In March 2013, the Washington Post reported that a federal grand jury in Miami was investigating Sen. Menendez and examining his role in advocating for the business interests of Dr. Melgen.  On January 25, 2014, NBC 4 New York reported that the DOJ was also investigating Sen. Menendez’s ties to William and Roberto Isaias, fugitive bankers from Ecuador.  Sen. Menendez contacted both the Department of Homeland Security and the State Department in support of the brothers, whose families donated significant funds in 2012 to Sen. Menendez and the Democratic Party.

Status:The status of the Senate Ethics Committee investigation is unknown. In December 2013, the Miami Herald reported that the grand jury was continuing to review the evidence of Sen. Menendez’s interventions on behalf of Dr. Melgen. In July 2014, the Washington Post reported that DOJ’s public-integrity section and the FBI were still pursuing the inquiry into Sen. Menendez and were considering possible charges against him. On March 6, 2015, CNN reported that the DOJ was preparing to bring criminal corruption charges against Sen. Menendez. On April 1, 2015, a federal grand jury indicted Sen. Menendez for one count of conspiracy, one count of violating the travel act, eight counts of bribery, three counts of honest services fraud, and one count of making false statements. On April 2, 2015, Sen. Menendez pleaded not guilty on all criminal charges brought against him.

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