WASHINGTON, D.C. — Bob Menendez may have escaped criminal consequences for his shady behavior concerning a former donor and friend, but on Thursday, the U.S. Senate’s Select Committee On Ethics issued a formal admonition.
“The Committee has determined that this conduct violated Senate Rules, federal law, and applicable standards of conduct. Accordingly, the Committee issues you this Public Letter of Admonition, and also directs you to repay the fair market value of all impermissible gifts not already repaid,” read the letter signed by both Republican and Democrat members.
Click here to read the full letter.
Dr. Salomon Melgen of Florida, U.S. Senator Bob Menendez’s former co-defendant in a federal corruption indictment, received a 17-year sentence back in February and was ordered to pay $42.6 million in restitution for Medicare fraud.
Melgen and Menendez are old friends, and Melgen was also a Menendez donor who stood accused of bribing Menendez with gifts, including airplane flights, in a separate, highly-publicized case.
“[…] the Committee is aware that you have described Dr. Melgen as your closest friend and ‘brother,'” the Committee’s letter elaborated, “but this makes your assistance to him no less troubling. Your Senate office and its attendant resources and power are not personal to you. Senators must closely guard against even the appearance that their families or friends are entitled to use these resources and power for their own personal gain.”
Menendez is up for reelection in 2018. Notwithstanding the ethical cloud surrounding him, polls show him continuing to maintain a double-digit advantage over presumptive Republican challenger Bob Hugin, a former pharmaceutical executive.