Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) is claiming that Cuban intelligence operatives may have planted reports that he patronized underage prostitutes. According to a Washington Post story on Monday by Carol Leonnig and Manuel Roig-Franzia:
The alleged Cuba connection was laid out in an intelligence report provided last year to U.S. government officials and sent by secure cable to the FBI’s counterintelligence division, according to the former official and a second person with close ties to Menendez who had been briefed on the matter.
The Post apparently did not have a copy of the “report,” nor could it verify its existence. To us, this whole thing sounds about as mysterious and vague as the original prostitution reports, but it really doesn’t matter. Menendez faces far more serious allegations.
Something very damaging, perhaps the indictment of his top donor Dr. Salomon Melgen, may be about to break. It is obvious what Menendez is doing. He seeks to create the impression the he is the victim of sinister forces that are responsible for all the headlines of the past two years.
We were not impressed with the original prostitution reports because they were unsubstantiated. We were not the source of them and we did not promote them. What did catch our attention was the allegation that Melgen provided travel to Menendez on his private jet, a violation of Senate rules. It prompted us to undertake a more far-reaching examination of the Menendez/Melgen relationship.
This review bore fruit when we found Menendez’ efforts to push a port security deal in the Dominican Republic on Melgen’s behalf. We provided the information to the New York Times, which detailed the prospective “windfall” for Melgen in a front-page article on February 1, 2013.
Melgen contributed $700,000 to a super PAC affiliated with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) that spent the bulk of the funds for Menendez’ re-election in 2012. In effect, Melgen is Menendez’ largest donor.
In October 2013, Melgen’s eye practice in Palm Beach was raided for a second time by the FBI. And it was revealed in April that Melgen was the top recipient of Medicare reimbursements for the whole county. In 2012, he received more than $20 million.
The appearance here is that Menendez’ 2012 re-election may have been funded with proceeds from a doctor suspected of massive Medicare fraud. And hundreds of thousands in political spending was facilitated by a Super PAC associated the Senate Majority Leader.
That’s the real story.