Embattled senator criticized by New Jersey pols, residents
New Jersey residents and local officials are uneasy about Sen. Bob Menendez (D., N.J.), the scrutiny he is under for possible ethical and moral improprieties, and his affiliation with a controversial ophthalmologist and wealthy donor.
Many of the New Jersey officials and constituents interviewed by the Free Beacon said Menendez is not being truthful about the flights he took on a private jet of controversial donor Dr. Salomon Melgen. Others said he abused his power as a senator in trying to enforce a Dominican Republic port security contract that benefitted the same donor.
Menendez should resign if the accusations are true, some constituents also said.
“I wish he would advocate for the state of New Jersey and the residents of Monmouth County, who are suffering badly from Sandy, as he has for this doctor and these special interests,” said Anthony Fiore, Middletown Township committeeman and former mayor of the town.
A Senate Ethics Committee probe into flights Menendez took on Melgen’s private jet that the senator never noted on his financial disclosure forms and for which he only recently reimbursed the doctor is also stirring anger.
“It‘s highly questionable how Sen. Menendez waited two years to reimburse for the flights,” Fiore said. He pointed out that 50 to 80 percent of Menendez’s salary as senator was spent on the flights. “It’s an awful lot of money to spend on two flights. It doesn’t add up. To me, it would appear, and I have to wonder, did he ever have any intention of paying for the flights?”
New Jersey state Sen. Sam Thompson (R.), whose letter to the Senate Ethics Committee in November requested a probe into four flights Menendez took on Melgen’s plane that he did not disclose, agreed.
“My complaint was valid and asked the Senate Ethics Committee to take whatever action necessary,” Thompson said, noting that to accept any gift of more than $250 requires Senate permission. “He did not get permission.”