Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) has been a corrupt politician all his life. He knows all the tricks, whether for getting (and doing) special favors or for stopping any serious inquiry into how he does things. But now he’s in a spot of trouble he can’t dodge. Or can he?
The Robert Menendez New Jersey knows
To most of New Jersey, Robert Menendez is one of the most liberal men in the United States Senate. He has never opposed anything that Barack Obama has asked him and his fellow Democrats to do. Ask him about a particular liberal policy, and he’ll answer, all right – dismissing your concerns and trying to make you feel like a jerk for asking. (As your correspondent knows all too well.)
But to anyone who cares to know in Hudson County, Robert Menendez is a cheap gangster with no honor. He got his start as the protégé of Mayor William Musto of Union City (not to be confused with the city of Union, in Union County). In 1981, Menendez turned federal evidence against Musto and even wore a bulletproof vest during Musto’s trial. Menendez ran against Musto in 1982. He lost – maybe because enough residents of Union City sat on their hands and regarded Menendez as a hypocrite, a turncoat, a traitor, or a combination of the three. But in 1986 Robert Menendez did become Mayor of Union City. He then continued in the “Musto Tradition.” This surprised no one in Hudson County.
Robert Menendez has nothing but contempt for the press. An anonymous source once told me that someone, maybe Menendez, had forced a now-defunct Hudson County newspaper to scrub many articles from its archives. These archives told more details about how closely Menendez and Musto worked together before Menendez turned against him. (Here is my report on that at examiner.com. I began a series of articles after RoseAnn Salanitri launched a bid to recall him from the Senate.)
Robert Menendez, pedophile?
The latest charge against Robert Menendez might now kill his career. Or if it does not, then it will bring permanent disgrace on the United States Senate and the mainstream media. And what is that charge? That he has had sexual relations with under-age girls.
We now learn – after the election – that Robert Menendez flew to the Dominican Republic three times in 2010. Not commercially. On a private business jet that an eye surgeon named Salomon Melgen owns. Today we learn from WNBC-TV (New York) what Dr. Melgen got out of it: Senator Menendez put through a port security deal in the Dominican Republic. That deal could be worth hundreds of millions of dollars to the company that got the deal. Who owns that company? None other than Salomon Melgen, MD. Evidently, the eye surgeon sees his way at least as clear to multi-million-dollar deals in Washington, as to take specs or cataracts out of people’s eyes.
Now: what did Robert Menendez get out of this deal? What was he doing in the Dominican Republic? And why didn’t he properly inform the Senate Ethics Committee about the trips? (In fact, the Associated Press says Menendez paid Dr. Melgen back $58,500 US for two of those trips – two years after he took them. The third trip was a campaign fundraising trip to Dr. Melgen’s hacienda, or whatever they call it in the Dominican Republic. That’s “covered” under Senate Ethics rules.)
$58,500 isn’t hay. It’s a healthy fraction of a Senator’s annual salary. But it is relative alfalfa to the money a Senator typically rakes in, outside his Senate salary. So two trips to the Dominican Republic that he ended up paying a heavy premium for, are a trifle. Clearly he got something more.
The Daily Caller, shortly before the election, first published a story that the FBI has been investigating Robert Menendez since August. Last week Editor David Martosko ran this story with a link to the site Feds Investigation on Senator Menendez. This site has e-mails from FBI Special Agent Regino Chavez to a Mr. Peter Williams. And what did Mr. Williams have to say? That on those trips to the Dominican Republic, Robert Menendez consorted with several prostitutes. That’s perfectly legal in the Dominican Republic. But not if they are under-age.
Menendez, according to CNN, indignantly denies everything – the improper travel, and especially consorting with under-age girls. But The Daily News (New York) complained that Menendez was “playing cat and mouse” with its reporters. That’s interesting for two reasons:
The Daily News says Robert Menendez usually is willing to talk to any reporter.
The Daily News sympathizes with the issues that Robert Menendez usually champions. Special port security deals seem over The Daily News’ head. But gun control, immigration “reform” (read: amnesty and pro-Mexico irredentism) are things that The Daily News understands.
So when they now complain that their favorite Cubano Senador is “playing cat and mouse” with them, you know he feels acute embarrassment.
(Your correspondent’s friend The Eagle recently prescribed another kind of surgery for Robert Menendez: not eye surgery, but urological. I’ll let you guess it. But he also blamed the mainstream press for holding back on the story until Robert Menendez comfortably became Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee. And everyone agrees that he is no J. William Fulbright!)
What might happen now to Robert Menendez?
That depends partly on the Senate, partly (sadly) on the de facto President and his Attorney General. The Constitution says that even a Senator is subject to arrest for “treason, felony, or breach of the peace.” And under federal law, intimacy with a minor is a felony for a US citizen no matter where he does it.
The Constitution also says the Senate may throw out a member on a two-thirds vote of all members.
So Robert Menendez could go to prison, if that is the favor that Dr. Melgen did him. The Miami Herald reported two days ago that the FBI raided Dr. Melgen’s West Palm Beach office. Dr. Melgen has his own trouble with the law, and the taxman. But if Menendez is guilty of pedophilia, then Dr. Melgen is guilty of pandering. Ouch. Can you say “turn Federal evidence”? How ironic that would be, given Menendez’ own history of doing just that.
And even if the government could not prove that against him, the Senate would need only enough evidence to satisfy its own rules.
But: will anyone prosecute Menendez? After all, he’s a friend of Barack Obama. Barack Obama cut his milk teeth in Chicago. And Chicago is worse than Union City ever was for gangster politics.
And the Senate has always held a double standard. Republicans who do anything half this bad must resign from the Senate before expulsion even comes to a floor vote. But Democrats seem to live by these lines from Shakespeare:
We have willing dames enough. [Even if they are under age? But I digress.] There cannot be
that vulture in you to devour so many
as would to greatness dedicate themselves,
finding it so inclin’d.
So will anything happen to Robert Menendez? Only time will tell.
A message to voters
Voters could make something happen, whenever they wanted to. But they shouldn’t wait until their Senator turns out to like little girls a little too well. No Senator would even think of debauching himself this way if voters would hold them to a higher standard.
But then, those same voters need to look in the mirror, and ask themselves what special deals they’ve been getting at the expense of their neighbors. That the Senator who got them those deals would demand such payment as Robert Menendez might have gotten in return, should surprise no one.