A federal grand jury in Miami is investigating Senator Robert Menendez, examining his role in advocating for the business interests of his benefactor, Dr. Salomon Melgen, and the anonymous allegations that Melgen provided the senator prostitutes while they vacationed together in the Dominican Republic, according to a report in The Washington Post.
Menedez declined to say if he was aware of the investigation, but welcomed being probed.
“I welcome any review, because I believe, at the end of the day, that my actions have been appropriate,” the senator said. “And just as everything that gave rise to this was a smear campaign based on slanders that drove the original story, I believe that when any review reviews the facts, they will determine that I have acted appropriately at all times.”
Menendez told WaPo that he likely would have received an exemption from the Senate Ethics Committee for the two flights he took on Melgen’s private jet in 2010 but did not report until January of this year. He paid Melgen $58,500, which was between 32% and 87% of his net worth, for the flights he thinks the Ethics Committee would let him have gratis because it was the right thing to do.
He said he could have likely received an exemption from the Senate Ethics Committee based on his long friendship with Melgen. “But I said, ‘You know, it’s past, and the right thing at the moment is to pay for it,’ ” he said. “When I learned of the mistake, I did what was right and took care of it.”