Senator Robert Menendez Again Probed by Feds

New reports indicate that Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) is facing another corruption investigation conducted by the feds. According to the New York Times:

The nature and extent of the investigation into Mr. Menendez is unclear, but it is related at least in part to a New Jersey start-up company, IS EG Halal, which over the course of a year became the sole entity authorized to certify that halal meat imported into Egypt from anywhere in the world was prepared according to Islamic law.

Who knows what this is actually about, but it sounds like just the sort of transactional, Garden State corruption on which Menendez has built a career.

If this probe goes anywhere under a Democrat Justice Department, it will be an ironic twist for Menendez, whose career likely would have ended in 2017 had Donald Trump not been president.

Menendez was tried on bribery and related charges in 2017, along with his co-defendant and biggest campaign donor, Dr. Salomon Melgen. That trial resulted in a mistrial because of a hung jury. Under circumstances that have yet to be explained, the Justice Department chose not to retry the duo.

Among the allegations, the prosecution accused Menendez of pressuring U.S. officials to get the Dominican Republic government to honor a long-dormant port security deal with a company owned by Melgen.

The port security deal was uncovered by NLPC’s Tom Anderson, and was the subject of a front-page New York Times story on February 1, 2013. NLPC provided information to the Times on an exclusive basis, apparently prompting, or at least expanding, the federal criminal investigation.

Aside from the Justice Department decision not to seek a retrial, the biggest mystery of the bribery prosecution was that Justice Department never flipped Melgen to testify against Menendez. The Doctor seemed to be a prime candidate to become a prosecution witness, already facing significant prison time for Medicare fraud.

Could it be that Melgen was told that if he served a couple years in prison, saving Menendez’ career and keeping the Senator out of the can, that political efforts could be exerted later to free him? As I wrote in 2018:

Why did Justice let Menendez escape after pouring so many resources into the investigation, prosecution, and trial? One explanation would be that political influence was exercised on Menendez’ behalf. Menendez’ lawyer is Abbe Lowell, who also represented Jared Kushner, President Trump’s son-in-law. Kushner and his family are longtime donors to Democratic politicians in New Jersey, including Menendez.

Of course, this was speculative at the time. But the Trump’s subsequent commutation of the balance of Melgen’s 17-year sentence during his last days in office confirms this possibility. Did the same forces that dissuaded the Justice Department from retrying Menendez and Melgen succeed in springing Melgen?

Melgen may have been the least deserving candidate for presidential clemency in history, and that is saying a lot when the competition is the likes of Marc Rich, pardoned by President Clinton in 2001. As I detailed in a Daily Caller op-ed in May 2018:

In April 2017, Melgen was found guilty of defrauding Medicare out of tens of millions in a trial in Florida…The crimes alleged at the Florida and New Jersey trials were intertwined. Melgen wouldn’t have been able to shower favors on Menendez, give him jet rides, or kick in $700,000 to a super PAC that spent most of the money on his 2012 re-election if he wasn’t getting gobs of money from somewhere. The scale of Melgen’s fraud was such that for a time he was actually the largest recipient of Medicare reimbursements in the whole country.


According to testimony at his trial and allegations in civil lawsuits, Melgen performed unnecessary surgeries and injections on unsuspecting elderly people, including some with fake eyes or who were already blind. Others claimed they suffered eye infections after receiving injections of bacteria-laden medicine. Some lost sight in one or both eyes. The contamination stemmed from Melgen dividing up single-use vials of ocular drugs so he could bill Medicare multiple times.

Of course, none of this prevents Menendez from being one of Trump’s severest critics. What better cover for such a rotten deal?




Tags: Robert Menendez, Salomon Melgen