In a headline today NJ.com asks the question, “How has Menendez Indictment Affected His Senate Duties?” The story details how Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) is acting if nothing is wrong, and quotes NLPC Chairman (not executive director) Ken Boehm:
A leading Menendez critic said he had no problem with the senator's efforts to carry on as if he did not face criminal charges.
"Defendants can act anyway they want," said Ken Boehm, executive director of the National Legal and Policy Center, a Falls Church, Va.-based watchdog group. "I take almost an attitude of, 'It's a free country, he's a free man, he's innocent until proven guilty.' At the end of the day, that's not going to change the driving forces behind the indictment."
The indictments resulted from a federal investigation initiated after media reports that Menendez attempted to intervene to thwart a Medicare-fraud investigation of Dr. Salomon Melgen, his largest donor, and that Menendez pressured government officials to further Melgen’s interests in a port security deal in the Dominican Republic.
Based on information provided by NLPC, the New York Times first reported on February 1, 2013 that Menendez went to bat for the Dominican port security deal that would have resulted in a "highly lucrative windfall" for Melgen.
The port security deal and Menendez’ efforts to promote it were uncovered by Tom Anderson, director of NLPC’s Government Integrity Project.
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NY Times Profiles Menendez Donors
Menendez, Clinton State Dept. Helped Secure Visa for Fugitive Banker's Daughter (WNBC-TV New York)
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VIDEO: NBC Nightly News Reports on Menendez-Melgen Port Security Deal
Sen. Menendez Pushed 'Windfall' for Melgen in Dominican Port Security Deal