Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) is under federal investigation on whether he and his wife received expensive gifts, including a luxury Washington D.C. apartment, Mercedes-Benz, and expensive jewelry.
Investigators want to know if the alleged gifts came from the owners of a New Jersey company that won a controversial contract with the Egyptian government.
The company reportedly performs Halal meat certification, even though U.S. Department of Agriculture officials said it has no experience.
New Jersey Democrat Sen. Menendez under investigation for expensive gifts, including DC apartment | Just The News https://t.co/JKGDTxLciS
— John Solomon (@jsolomonReports) May 26, 2023
Federal prosecutors and the FBI are investigating whether Senator Robert Menendez or his wife received unreported gifts of a luxury car and an apartment from a company that is also the focus of a criminal inquiry, people with knowledge of the matter said. https://t.co/rwUuKRe4ec
— The New York Times (@nytimes) May 26, 2023
NBC News reported:
“I am sure it is going to end up in absolutely nothing,” Menendez said last week, denying any wrongdoing in connection with the ongoing federal corruption investigation.
Sources familiar with the matter say Damian Williams, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, along with FBI and IRS-Criminal Investigation agents are looking into whether the senator and his wife, Nadine Arslanian, improperly took gifts from the owner or associates of IS EG Halal — and whether the senator took any action in return.
Menendez, a Democrat, serves as chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee helping to oversee billions of dollars in aid to Egypt.
“Prosecutors would obviously want to look if money, apartments, cars were given to the senator or someone close to him in return for one of his official acts,” NBC News legal analyst Chuck Rosenberg said.
In addition to the investigation into any possible quid-pro-quo scheme, sources familiar with the matter said IRS criminal investigators are looking into whether the alleged gifts were properly accounted for on tax filings by the senator and his wife. None of the items appear listed on Menendez’s Senate disclosure forms.
This isn’t the first time Senator Menendez has been under investigation for receiving improper gifts.
Menendez went to trial in 2017 on criminal corruption charges but jurors were unable to reach a verdict.
The U.S. Senate Select Committee on Ethics said on Thursday that Senator Robert Menendez violated congressional rules by “knowingly and repeatedly” accepting impermissible gifts over a six-year period and must repay their fair market value.
Menendez, a Democrat from New Jersey, was indicted several years ago on criminal corruption charges related to the gifts that he received from Dr. Salomon Melgen, a Florida eye doctor who was convicted of Medicare fraud earlier this year.
Menendez’s trial ended with a hung jury late last year and Justice Department prosecutors subsequently asked the judge to dismiss the charges against him.
Despite the court outcome, the Ethics Committee, made up of three Republican senators and three Democratic senators, found that he violated Senate rules.
“The Committee has found that over a six-year period you knowingly and repeatedly accepted gifts of significant value from Dr. Melgen,” the committee wrote in a letter to Menendez released on Thursday.
Melgen paid for Menendez to take private and commercial flights, and stay at a luxury hotel in Paris and at a villa in the Dominican Republic, the committee said.
During the same period, Menendez used his status as a senator to help Melgen, including by intervening after the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services found that Melgen had overbilled them by $8.9 million, the committee said.
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