Sen. Dick Durbin (D., Ill.) said Sunday Sen. Bob Menendez (D., N.J.) has given him “assurance” there is “no substance” to the allegations against him.
Federal agents raided in January the South Florida offices of a major and primarily Democratic donor on dual investigations into Medicare fraud and political corruption. That donor, Dr. Salomon Melgen, who has a reputation in Florida as being “transactional,” has given generously to Menendez in a variety of forms and calls a number of other high-profile Democrats friends.
Earlier in January, Menendez reimbursed Melgen $58,500 for a series of flights the New Jersey Democrat took aboard Melgen’s corporate jet in 2010. Since the raid, it has come to light that Menendez advocated on behalf of a business owned by Melgen (on a contract worth between $500 million and $1 billion over the next 20 years) and contacted federal officials twice over an audit of Melgen’s eye clinic.
The Senate Ethics Committee is currently reviewing allegations against Menendez.
The New York Times editorial board called for Menendez to step down or be removed from his position as chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in a Saturday editorial.