As the Palm Beach Post reports, the offices of Dr. Salomon Melgen were yesterday again raided by the FBI, evidencing an ongoing investigation into what appears to be Medicare fraud. Melgen is the largest campaign donor of Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ). In 2012, he contributed $700,000 to a super PAC affiliated with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) that spent the bulk of the funds for Menendez’ re-election.
The Post notes that Menendez went to bat for Melgen on a port security deal in the Dominican Republic. These actions on Melgen’s behalf were first reported by the New York Times on February 1, 2013, based on information provided by NLPC. The Washington Post reported in March that Menendez’ advocacy on behalf of Melgen is the subject of a grand jury investigation in Miami.
New York Times reporters Ray Hernandez and Frances Robles detailed how Menendez sought to help Melgen “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 the Dominican Republic, subsequently urged officials in the State and Commerce Departments to intervene so the contract would be enforced, at an estimated value of $500 million.
Menendez even convened a special hearing on the matter. Although he was the only Senator present, it had the full force of a Senate hearing. He dragged administration officials up to the Hill for questioning about why the deal had not gone through.
The New York Times quoted Menendez:
“You have another company that has American investors that is seeking to – has a contract actually given to it by the – kind of ratified by the Dominican Congress to do X-ray of all of the cargo that goes through the ports, which have been problematic and for which in the past narcotics have been included in those cargo,” the senator said at the hearing, according to a transcript provided by the National Legal and Policy Center, a government watchdog group.