Menendez Legal Move Backfires

Lawyers for Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) recently asked that several of the counts in the indictment be thrown out because the investigation started after “unproven allegations” that Menendez has sex with underage prostitutes.

In response, the government says it has “corroborated” evidence of this misconduct, even though Menendez was not criminally charged with it. Paul Mulshine of The Newark (NJ) Star-Ledger, has a good account of this legal misstep.

Menendez lawyers did not challenge the counts in the indictment based on Menendez advocacy of a port security deal in the Dominican Republic that would have provided a windfall for his biggest donor and co-defendant, Dr. Salomon Melgen.

Mulshine also discusses the port deal and NLPC’s role in exposing it:

The guy who uncovered that was Tom Anderson of the National Legal and Policy Center, a conservative-leaning ethics watchdog group. Interestingly enough, it was not NLPC but the liberal-leaning Citizens

Senator Robert Menendez Indicted

Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) was indicted this afternoon on 8 counts of bribery, 3 counts of honest services fraud, one count of conspiracy, one count of violating the travel act, and one count of making false statements. His largest political backer, Dr. Salomon Melgen (in photo on left) was also charged by the U.S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey.

The indictments were the result of a lengthy federal investigation that was initiated after media reports that Menendez attempted to intervene to thwart a Medicare-fraud investigation of Melgen, and that Menendez pressured government officials to further Melgen’s interests in a port security deal in the Dominican Republic.

Based on information provided by NLPC, the New York Times first reported on February 1, 2013 that Menendez went to bat for the Dominican port security deal that would have resulted in a "highly lucrative windfall" for Melgen.

The port security deal and …

Taking the Bait on Menendez Story

Commentators on both the Left and the Right are suggesting that the impending indictment of Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) is retribution against Menendez for his recent criticisms of Obama administration foreign policy. While we concur that almost everything that Attorney General Eric Holder does is tainted by politics, a few points about the Menendez case are in order:

1) The reported charges against Menendez, that he tried to interfere with a Medicare fraud investigation of his largest donor, Dr. Salomon Melgen, and that he went to bat for Melgen in the Dominican Republic port security deal, were not cooked up by the political operation at the White House.

The Medicare investigation was initiated by the anti-fraud unit of HHS. (Melgen was the biggest recipient of Medicare reimbursement in the whole country in 2012). The port security deal was uncovered by the National Legal and Policy Center. We broke the story …

Rangel’s Dominican Politics

Rangel in beach chairRep. Charles Rangel (D-NY) faces a primary election tomorrow against State Senator Adriano Espaillat, who came within 1,100 votes of upsetting him two years ago, and Harlem preacher Rev. Michael Wolrund. If elected, Espaillat would be the first Dominican elected to Congress. In a June 6 televised debate, Rangel invoked Espaillat’s ethnicity:

Just what the heck has he done besides saying he’s a Dominican?…He wants to be the Jackie Robinson of the Dominicans in the Congress, which is ambitious, but the fact is, Jackie Robinson was a star before he reached the major leagues. And he’s not a Jackie Robinson.

Of course, the 84-year old Rangel has practiced his own version of Dominican politics. From a posting that appeared on this website on August 10, 2010:

NLPC yesterday filed a formal Complaint with the House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct, commonly known as the House Ethics Committee. Click here

Grand Jury Investigating New Jersey Sen. Robert Menendez

Robert MenendezThe Washington Post today reports that a federal grand jury is investigating Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) for pushing a Dominican port security deal that would have meant a windfall for Dr. Salomon Melgen, a major donor. The post security deal was first reported in the New York Times on February 1, based on information provided by NLPC.

Post reporters Carol Leonnig and Peter Wallsten cited unnamed sources for the existence of the grand jury and a related investigation. According to the story:

Last month, people with knowledge of the case said FBI agents were conducting interviews in the Dominican Republic and the United States concerning allegations against Menendez, including the role he played in advocating for the enforcement of the port-security contract.

The reporters point out:

Cases of political bribery are extremely hard to build and prove, according to ethics experts and public-corruption defense lawyers, and many such investigations

Sen. Menendez Denial on Permuy is ‘Howler of the Day’

Permuy photoYesterday, NLPC Chairman Ken Boehm questioned Senator Robert Menendez’ veracity after his office claimed that he did not know that his ex-aide Pedro Pablo Permuy (in photo) was involved with ICCSI, a company partly owned by his mega-donor Salomon Melgen. Menendez sought to pressure administration officials to support a contract for port security in the Dominican Republic that would have provided a windfall for Melgen.

In a Miami Herald story today, Marc Caputo reports:

Sen. Bob Menendez’s ties to a former Miami aide who could benefit from a controversial overseas port contract, which the Democrat pushed for, extend to an international business group that last year feted Spain’s king and the U.S. secretary of state.

Menendez and Pedro Pablo Permuy hold high-level posts on the United States-Spain Council, funded by major special interests — from ATT to Bacardi to Wal-Mart– as well as a little-known investment company of the

Sen. Menendez Claims He Didn’t Know Ex-Aide Was Part of Port Deal

Menendez photoFrances Robles reports in the New York Times that an ex-aide to Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) stood to benefit from a Dominican port security deal, along with Menendez benefactor Salomon Melgen. From the Times:

Mr. Menendez, Democrat of New Jersey, has pushed United States government officials to help enforce a contract that a company owned in part by one of his major donors, Dr. Salomon E. Melgen, has with the Dominican government, which has refused to honor it.

A top executive at Dr. Melgen’s security company will be Pedro Pablo Permuy, a former national security adviser and senior legislative aide to Mr. Menendez, according to a cousin of Dr. Melgen. Mr. Permuy’s ties to the senator go back at least 20 years.

But Menendez’ office told the Times that this is all news to the Senator:

Tricia Enright, a spokeswoman for Mr. Menendez, said the senator had no knowledge

VIDEO: NBC Nightly News Reports on Menendez-Melgen Port Security Deal

NLPC Chairman Ken Boehm commented on the new allegations against Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) in a report on the NBC Nightly News on Saturday. Here’s a transcript:

Lester Holt: Back in this country, Democratic Senator Bob Menendez of New Jersey has come under scrutiny for his relationship with a wealthy Florida doctor who was a big donor to the Senator and to other Democratic causes. NBC’s national investigative correspondent, Michael Isikoff, has more tonight.

(Roll Video)

Senator Bob Menendez: This hearing…

Michael Iiskoff (voice-over): Just as Senator Bob Menendez takes over the powerful Senate foreign relations committee…

Senator Bob Menendez: …will come to order.

Michael Iiskoff:  …the spotlight has come to this, FBI agents in Florida hauling away boxes from the offices of one of his top political fundraisers, Salomon Melgen.  Law enforcement sources tell NBC News a wealthy eye doctor who, with his family has …

Sen. Menendez Pushed ‘Windfall’ for Melgen in Dominican Port Security Deal

Menendez photoEver since the spotlight was placed on Dominican-born eye doctor Salomon Melgen and his large campaign contributions to Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ), the question for us has been “What has Menendez done for Melgen?”

We believe that we have answer. After an extensive review of publicly available documents that link the two men, the answer relates to unusual actions on behalf of a port security company known as ICSSI.

Ray Hernandez and Frances Robles detail in a New York Times story how Menendez sought to help ICSSI “in ways that could bring the doctor a highly lucrative windfall.” From the article:

Two years ago, Dr. Melgen, despite an apparent lack of experience in border security issues, bought an ownership interest in a company that had a long-dormant contract with the Dominican Republic to provide port security. Mr. Menendez, who is chairman of the Senate subcommittee that holds sway over