To protect the integrity of our democracy, Senator Robert Menendez must resign. Today Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington along with a coalition of over 25 nonpartisan, nonprofit organizations committed to protecting our democracy, including Center for American Progress, Project on Government Oversight (POGO) and Public Citizen sent a letter to Menendez calling on him to resign and outlining why his resignation is necessary in the wake of his indictment.

As a senator for New Jersey and chair of the Foreign Relations Committee, Menendez has a duty to serve Americans and the Constitution. Rather than protect the public interest, Menendez allegedly used his office to profit. According to the federal indictment unsealed in September, the second in Menendez’s Senate career, he abused his power to scheme with the Egyptian government, including securing taxpayer money and weapons for the authoritarian ruler. These allegations paint a damning picture of a senator who seemingly repeatedly placed his own personal interests above the United States’ national security and democratic process. 

While Menendez is entitled to the presumption of innocence and a fair trial for these charges, continuing to serve as he does is inappropriate. The people of New Jersey elected Menendez to represent them and their best interests. These allegations, however, make it impossible for his constituents to trust he will represent them. They deserve a senator they can trust to act on their behalf, without suspicion of conflicts of interest or attempts to enrich himself. 

Menendez’s indictment and other current and former public servants who also trade public interests for private profit have damaged American’s faith in our democracy. Ridding corruption or even the perception of corruption is crucial to our democratic survival and national security. Menendez must resign.

Photos from Bob Menendez via Flickr under a Creative Commons license.

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