Senator accused of having sex with underaged prostitutes as part of influence peddling scandal hosting Weiland fundraiser today.
I was perusing the list of people hosting the fundraiser for Rick Weiland being held today, and hadn’t really given it much thought until I saw a news story, and then it grabbed my attention quickly.
The usual suspects from North and South Dakota were mentioned in a recent Argus blurb. But David Montgomery conveniently glossed over the rest of the list, one of whom has been in the news over the last six months.
In fact, his participation has me questioning whether anyone has asked Rick Weiland if his Washington DC Fundraiser is going to involve any discussion of underage Dominican Republic prostitution? Because it has been alleged that at least one of his hosts, the same Bob Menendez, is well versed in the topic:
On November 1, the Daily Caller published claims that Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) slept with underage prostitutes in the Dominican Republic in the spring of 2012, and yet he has had a successful few months, touring the Jersey Shore with President Obama and Governor Christie after Hurricane Sandy, winning reelection, and spearheading immigration reform in the Senate as a leading Hispanic voice. Nevertheless, the Senate Ethics Committee recently joined the FBI to investigate these claims.
According to the Daily Caller piece, the two women said they met Menendez around Easter at Casa de Campo, a 7,000-acre resort in the Dominican Republic owned by West Palm Beach, Fla. ophthalmologist Dr. Salomon Melgen. The women, who asked for their identities to remain private, recognized a photograph of Menendez as the man they had had sexual relations with in the spring. Brought to the resort under the pretense that they would be paid for sex, the women claimed that Menendez agreed to pay them $500, although ultimately they each only received $100.
The FBI raided Melgen’s West Palm Beach office on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week, though two FBI sources say that the bureau’s inquiry is now based in New Jersey, suggesting that the investigation’s focus has shifted toward Menendez.
Oh, and it isn’t just having sex with underaged girls he’s being accused of. There’s some ethical breaches he’s being investigated for as well:
An ethical cloud is following Sen. Robert Menendez in Washington, even as he has leading roles in some of Congress’ most important policy debates.
The New Jersey Democrat heads the Senate’s Foreign Affairs Committee at a time when tensions with Syria, Iran and North Korea are rising. At home, the Cuban-American lawmaker is at the center of the immigration overhaul fight that’s captivating Capitol Hill.
All the while, a Senate Ethics Committee investigation into Menendez’s conduct persists, with many of the same questions about politics, money and influence that have dogged members of Congress through history: When does helping a supporter become a quid pro quo?
At issue is Menendez’s relationship with Dr. Salomon Melgen, a Florida ophthalmologist under FBI investigation.
The two men have long and deep ties, and their relationship bears similarities to past congressional scandals, experts said.
Menendez has acknowledged several instances when actions he or his office has taken appear to have benefited Melgen. Menendez insists he’s done nothing wrong.
Read that here. And here’s an article tying the two together:
The investigation began with two disparate issues, according to people familiar with the matter who spoke with the Post. First, auditors had been reviewing allegations that Melgen was fraudulently overbilling Medicare for treating his patients. Melgen’s attorney has said the doctor’s billing was completely appropriate.
Then, in the fall, the FBI began looking into an anonymous tipster’s allegations that Melgen had arranged prostitutes for Menendez in the Dominican Republic. Such an arrangement could constitute providing a favor or gift under the bribery statute that investigators have been reviewing, the Post said.
Lawyers for Menendez and Melgen have said the allegations involving prostitutes, which also were made by the conservative website the Daily Caller, were absurd. Menendez has said the allegations, which first surfaced during his re-election campaign last year, were part of a Republican smear campaign.
Read that here. Yes, because the FBI actively investigates “smear campaigns.”
And you can watch more coverage of it here:
As CBS news notes, the FBI isn’t looking at just the one charge, they’re looking into “a whole bunch of allegations,” and “a steady drip of allegations” involved with his host.
As far as I can tell, the FBI investigation is still open, and nothing has been proven, or disproven.
Except that he’s raising money for Rick Weiland tonight.
(Irony Update – Today, Attorney General Marty Jackley called on Congress to fight prostitution and child sex trafficking. The same day the Democrat who hopes to be in Washington legislating is raising money using someone accused of those very things.)