FBI Agents Raid Office of Doctor Linked to Menendez

Menendez (AP)
January 30, 2013

Federal agents raided late Tuesday the office of a South Florida eye doctor linked to Sen. Robert Menendez (D., N.J.), the Miami Herald reports:

FBI agents late Tuesday night raided the West Palm Beach business of an eye doctor suspected of providing free trips and even underage Dominican Republic prostitutes to U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J. — who has denied what he calls the "fallacious allegations."

Agents gathered at the medical-office complex of Dr. Salomon Melgen, a contributor to Menendez and other prominent politicians, to start hauling away potential evidence in several vans.

The investigation is believed to be focusing on Melgen’s finances and the allegations about Menendez’s trips and contact with prostitutes. A spokesman for Menendez could not be reached for comment, nor could Melgen.

Melgen is a major Democratic donor, who has donated at least $12,000 to Menendez, including $5,000 to Menendez and $10,000 to the New Jersey Democratic State Committee in the 2012 cycle. Melgen's eye clinic has also contributed at least $700,000 to Majority PAC, the Harry Reid-affiliated Super PAC dedicated to electing Democrats to the U.S. Senate.

The Middlesex County Republican Organization in November sent a letter to the Senate Ethics Committee asking the committee to investigate whether Menendez took a series of trips on a private jet owned by Melgen without disclosure.

Flight records obtained by the Washington Free Beacon suggest Menendez likely did travel on Melgen's plane in 2010 and 2011.

Melgen has an outstanding IRS lien of $11.1 million for taxes owed from 2006 to 2009, according the Miami HeraldThat lien is not Melgen's first run-in with the IRS.

Menendez is also facing questions over an intern in his Washington D.C., office who was revealed to be an illegal immigrant and registered sex offender. According to U.S. officials, the Department of Homeland Security instructed federal agents to delay the intern's arrest until after the election.