I do not see how this could possibly end badly for the …can we call him ’embattled,’ yet? Yes, let’s! …embattled New Jersey Democrat*.
A federal grand jury in Miami is investigating Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), examining his role in advocating for the business interests of a wealthy donor and friend, according to three people aware of the probe.
Menendez has intervened in matters affecting the financial interests of Florida ophthalmologist Salomon Melgen, seeking to apply pressure on the Dominican government to honor a contract with Melgen’s port security company, documents and interviews show. Also, Menendez’s office has acknowledged he interceded with federal health-care officials after they said that Melgen had overbilled the U.S. government for care at his clinic.
Melgen has provided Menendez with plane flights and hospitality at his Dominican vacation home, say people acquainted with their relationship.
The Washington Post goes on to walk back those three paragraphs as much as it can, but that’s just the Beltway Media’s little ways: put the splashy stuff above the fold, and make it all deniable below it. Reading between the lines… Salomon Melgen is probably going to end up getting arrested for one thing or another. It’s almost certain that, should he be arrested, the feds will be able to hang something unpleasant on Melgen. What happens after that is something that is of no doubt more than a little interest to both Melgen and Senator Menendez, particularly if the former gets the impression somehow that throwing the latter to the wolves might be a viable long-term strategy.
At any rate, expect this entire escapade to continue on for a while. Really, Menendez’s true problem here is that he’s a Hudson County Democrat, which means that if the feds don’t find any corruption right off the bat they very well just might assume that they messed up somehow and will keep digging until they do find something juicy…
Moe Lane (crosspost)
*Kudos to the Washington Post for admitting the partisan leaning of Menendez in the first line of the article. Unless that’s just a tacit admission that the Senator is kind of doomed anyway.
— Rick Wilson (@TheRickWilson) March 15, 2013