Several top Democrats got funds from senator on trial for corruption

by WorldTribune Staff, September 12, 2017

Sens. Tim Kaine and Elizabeth Warren are among several top-ranking Democrats who accepted campaign donations from the political action committee of New Jersey Democratic Sen. Robert Menendez, records show

Menendez is facing trial on 12 counts of corruption on allegations that he accepted campaign contributions and free trips from Dr. Salomon Melgen in exchange for helping the doctor with various disputes, including ongoing ones with federal health regulators, and helping the doctor bring mistresses into the country from overseas.

Sen. Robert Menendez. / Reuters

In April, Melgen was convicted on 67 federal charges of health-care fraud.

Fellow Democratic Senate colleagues who accepted cash from Menendez’s the New Millennium PAC include:

  • Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia: Hillary Clinton’s former running mate, accepted $10,000 in contributions from the New Millennium PAC in late February of this year.
  • Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts: Took a $5,000 contribution from Menendez’s PAC in early March.
  • Sen. Debbie Stabenow’s of Michigan: Stabenow’s campaign took $10,000 from Menendez’s PAC in late March.
  • Sen. Jon Tester of Montana: Tester’s campaign also accepted $10,000 in late March.
  • Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York: Gillibrand’s campaign took $10,000 in contributions from Menendez’s PAC on March 23.
  • Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut: Murphy’s campaign received a $5,000 donation from the New Millennium PAC in late June.

“Instead of distancing themselves from Bob Menendez after his indictment on bribery charges, his Democrat colleagues have stood behind him, even accepting tainted campaign cash from the disgraced Senator,” Bob Salera, the deputy communications director for the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC), told the Washington Free Beacon. “If Senate Democrats don’t return Menendez’s donations, voters should take their inaction as a tacit endorsement of his corruption.”

Menendez has denied all allegation of wrongdoing, and he has denied any talk of a plea deal with the Justice Department.

New documents in the government’s case against Menendez say that “The defendants’ bribery scheme began shortly after Menendez’s elevation to the Senate in 2006, when Melgen began a pattern of treating Menendez to weekend and week-long getaways in the Dominican Republic that would continue for the next several years.

“For the first four years of the corruption scheme, the all-expense paid trips Melgen provided often included free roundtrip flights on Melgen’s private jet for Menendez and his various guests. When the doctor’s private jet was unavailable, Melgen supplied equally luxurious travel for the Senator.”

Melgen was convicted in April in Palm Beach County, Florida for operating what prosecutors called a massive scheme that robbed Medicare out of as much as $105 million.

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