The scrutiny that his relationship with Dr. Salomon Melgen was getting didn’t keep U.S. Senator Bob Menendez from using his power as an advocate for his benefactor last month.
Menendez intervened with the Department of Homeland Security in January, asking that they not provide port security equipment to the Dominican Republic. Menendez was concerned that the advanced screening equipment would undermine the efforts of Melgen’s company that has a $500 million contract with the DR for port security operations. Dominican customs officials have been trying to cancel the contract with Melgen, citing its excessive cost, over the objections of Menendez.
Melgen has been a friend and contributor of Menendez’s for over 20 years. After being caught failing to disclose flights to the Dominican Republic on Melgen’s private plane, Menendez paid Melgen $58,500 in January for two flights that occurred in 2010. Melgen’s eye care clinic was raided by the FBI in January. Media reports say the eye doctor is being investigated for $8.9 million if Medicare/Medicaid fraud and that he owes the IRS $11 million.
Menendez has also intervened with federal health care officials regarding Medicare/Medicaid billing on behalf of Melgen.
The New York Times has the story.