In the aftermath of an FBI raid on a major political contributor, Sen. Bob Menendez belatedly paid back the donor for two private plane trips to the Dominican Republic.
As The Inquistrpreviously reported, on Tuesday night the FBI raided the offices of Dr. Salomon Melgen, a wealthy West Palm Beach eye doctor, who is accused of offering free trips and underage Dominican prostitutes to Sen. Menendez, a New Jersey Democrat.
According to NBC News, Menendez wrote a personal check for $58,500 to reimburse Melgen for just two round trip tickets to the Domincan Republic:
“Menendez’s office said Thursday the three-year delay in paying for the plane trips with fundraiser and friend Dr. Salomen Melgen was an ‘oversight.’
” ‘This was sloppy,” Dan O’Brien, Menendez’ chief of staff, told NBC News about the senator’s failure to pay for the 2010 flights at the time. ‘I’m chalking it up to an oversight.’ “
Time magazine notes that “there has been no public disclosure of the two trips until now.”
Sen. Menendez has denied any involvement with prostitutes at the Casa de Camapo resort in the DR according to the Miami Herald:
” ‘Dr. Melgen has been a friend and political supporter of Senator Menendez for many years,’ Mendendez’s office said. ‘Senator Menendez has traveled on Dr. Melgen’s plane on three occasions, all of which have been paid for and reported appropriately. Any allegations of engaging with prostitutes are manufactured by a politically-motivated right-wing blog and are false.’ “
The Herald suggested that the FBI raid may have something to do with a Medicare fraud inquiry and may be unrelated to Melgen’s relationship to Menendez.
The allegations about the alleged link between Menendez and prostitutes were first broken by The Daily Caller in November.
There is at least one ethics complaints pending against the senator, who is scheduled to take the gavel of the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
Does $60,000 for just two plane flights sound excessive to you, and do you think there is more to the story of the senator and the fundraiser?