Back on topic.
It would appear that the prostitution accusation may not
be the only problem this senator has.
Sen. Menendez Pushed 'Windfall' for Melgen in
Dominican Port Security Deal
Thu, 01/31/2013 - 20:10
Ever since the allegations first made in November that Dominican-born eye doctor Salomon Melgen provided
prostitutes for Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ),
a favor that appeared to be gravy on top of his large
campaign contributions, the obvious question for us
has been, "What has Menendez done for Melgen?"
We believe that we have answer. After an extensive
review of publicly available documents that link the
two men, the answer relates to unusual actions on
behalf of a port security company known as ICSSI.
Ray Hernandez and Frances Robles detail in a
New York Times story how Menendez sought to
help ICSSI "in ways that could bring the doctor a
highly lucrative windfall." From the article:
Two years ago, Dr. Melgen, despite an apparent
lack of experience in border security issues, bought
an ownership interest in a company that had a
long-dormant contract with the Dominican Republic
to provide port security. Mr. Menendez, who is
chairman of the Senate subcommittee that holds
sway over the Dominican Republic, subsequently
urged officials in the State and Commerce Departments
to intervene so the contract would be enforced,
at an estimated value of $500 million.
Menendez even convened a special hearing on
the matter. Although he was the only Senator
present, it had the full force of a Senate hearing.
He dragged administration officials up to the Hill for questioning about why the deal had not gone through.
The New York Times quotes Menendez:
"You have another company that has American
investors that is seeking to - has a contract actually
given to it by the - kind of ratified by the Dominican
Congress to do X-ray of all of the cargo that goes
through the ports, which have been problematic
and for which in the past narcotics have been included
in those cargo," the senator said at the hearing,
according to a transcript provided by the National
Legal and Policy Center, a government watchdog group.
Also from the article:
...Ken Boehm, the chairman of the government
watchdog group, called the actions troubling.
"At a minimum, the public is entitled to know more
about this relationship," Mr. Boehm said. "It's a matter
of transparency and accountability."
The New York Times article was posted online this
evening and will likely be published in tomorrow's
print edition. As interesting as some of the details
of the previous allegations have been, the real
scandal is the appearance that a U.S. Senator tried
to help a donor make a lot of money at the same time
the donor was pouring hundreds of thousand into the campaigns of Menendez and his allies.
The New York Times provides a good overview
of the situation but there are several aspects of the
Menendez-Melgen relationship that deserve much more scrutiny.