Sen. Bob Menendez’s (D., N.J.) son is employed by his top campaign contributor and earmarks requested by the senator have greatly benefitted the firm’s clients, a Free Beacon analysis shows.
The top contributor to Menendez between 2007 and 2012 is the law firm and lobbyist outfit Lowenstein Sandler. The firm contributed $116,160 to Menendez during the 2012 campaign cycle, according to campaign finance records.
Menendez’s son Robert Jr. is employed by Lowenstein Sandler and is currently listed as an associate.
Lowenstein Sandler’s lobbying arm, Issues Management, has clients ranging from rehabilitation centers to universities and developers. While Issues Management lobbies at the state and not the federal level, some of its clients have done quite well in securing funding for their companies and projects through earmarks requested by Menendez and Senator Frank Lautenberg.
More than $250 million was approved for New Jersey projects and programs in the 2010 Omnibus Appropriations Bill.
Saint Barnabas Health Care received $300,000, Fairleigh Dickinson University received $500,000, and Somerset Medical Center received $600,000.
All of these organizations are clients of Issues Management, according to its website.
One lawyer at the firm, Zulima Farber, was awarded the Evangelina Menendez Trailblazer Award by Menendez. Named after the senator’s mother, the award is given to New Jersey women each year who have made "outstanding contributions to the Garden State."
Farber personally contributed to the senator’s campaign. Records show she donated $3,800 to Menendez’s affiliated New Millennium PAC and $4,400 to Menendez’s campaign since 2007.
Lowenstein Sandler’s chairman and CEO Gary Wingens has also personally contributed to Menendez’s campaign.
Wingens is a member of the Executive Committee of United Jewish Communities of MetroWest (UJC) and a board member for the Jewish Family Services (JFS), according to his bio on the company’s website.
Through earmarks requested by Sens. Menendez and Lautenberg, those two organizations received hundreds of thousands of dollars. UJC received $100,000 for an independent aging initiative; JFS received $225,000 for their aging-in-place program in Somerset, Hunterdon, and Warren Counties, and another $300,000 for the program in Central New Jersey. The United Jewish Agency Federation of Northern New Jersey, another group affiliated with UJC, received $200,000. All received these funds through the Omnibus bill.
Neither Lowenstein Sandler nor Sen. Menendez’s press office returned calls for comment.
New Jersey Republicans have asked the Senate Ethics Committee to review a series of flights Menendez made between the U.S. and Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republican between 2010 and 2012.