Bob Menendez

Star-Ledger Sees Plausible Scandal Surrounding Bob Menendez, But not the Alleged Underage Hookers

Where there's smoke there's often some kind of fire


has some explaining to do

The editorial board of the Star-Ledger, New Jersey's largest newspaper, dismisses allegations that Senator Bob Menendez frequented underage prostitutes in the Dominican Republic as having "all the markings of a dirty trick" because it first emerged just a few days before the election in November. Menendez was re-elected with 58.4 percent of the vote; the last poll taken, before the allegations emerged, had Menendez at 50 percent and his Republican opponent at just 32 percent. Menendez, in fact, won by about the same margin as the Real Clear Politics average of polls showed. I'm not sure any "dirty trick" could've influenced that outcome.

Nevertheless, where there's smoke the Star-Ledger does see fire:

But there is more. Menendez took free rides to the Dominican Republic in 2010 in a private jet owned by a major donor, prominent eye doctor Salomon Melgen. And he kept that gift secret in what seems a certain violation of Senate rules, revealing the trips only last month after critics raised questions about his relationship with Melgen. Menendez has since reimbursed Melgen $58,500 for the flights…

The relationship with Melgen is at the heart of another piece of this scandal as well. According to a report in the New York Times, Menendez used his position on the Foreign Affairs Committee to advocate for Melgen's shady business dealings in the Dominican Republican.

The deal concerns a contract to screen cargo leaving ports in the Dominican Republic. Melgen is no expert on port security, but in 2010 he bought an ownership interest in the firm that had won that contract, worth an estimated $500 million.

Melgen's role seems to have been to provide political grease…

Why, then, did Menendez put pressure on officials at the State Department and Commerce Department over the contract during a hearing? Was he using his position on the Foreign Affairs Committee to advocate for his friend's business interests? Keep in mind, Melgen was not a constituent; he was a money man who had given generously to Menendez.

This is tawdry stuff. For all his talents, Menendez seems to have behaved like a slippery Hudson County pol. We are eager to hear his explanation.

Meanwhile, the Star-Ledger's Paul Mulshine's, a conservative columnist, explains that Menendez, a politician from Hudson County, is in fact like a lot of Hudson County pols:

Last week, Menendez issued a statement denying any contact with prostitutes. That sounds good. But like a lot of Hudson County pols, Menendez does not always have the best memory. When I interviewed him during his first Senate run in 2006, I asked about a rowhouse he owned in the 1980s when he was the mayor of Union City. When he bought it, the rowhouse was zoned residential. But he sold it years later for commercial use at a big profit. When I asked whether he got a variance, Menendez couldn't quite recall.

This time around, the FBI may offer some memory aids.

Read the rest of Paul Mulshine's op-ed here and the Star-Ledger editorial here.

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  1. He’s just representing his state the best way he knows.

  2. When one of the court media admits that Mendendez is at least guilty of corruption, that tells you that there is probably something to the under age hooker allegation. They would only admit the truth about the corruption because they don’t want to have to admit the darker truth about the child molesting.

    Why would he spend so much time and effort going to the DR for hookers if not to get underage ones? Hookers are plenty easy to find in New York and Washington. The only reason to go to all of that trouble going to the DR is because you want a particular kind of hooker than is harder to get in New York and Washington.

    1. “We’re impartial enough to see that there may be some issues, but certainly nothing as bad as the claims.”

      1. We will go ahead and admit something that really won’t change anything so we can look plausible when we deny the issue that could change something.

  3. And Menendez is almost Waxman level ugly.

    1. No, John. This guy may be ugly on the inside, but to be as ugly as Waxman requires nostrils that are the gateways into Hell, and Menendez doesn’t have that.

      1. He looks like the pig man from Seinfeld. And yeah, he doesn’t have the nostrils or the bald head with sandtraps. But still..

      2. I keep awaiting for the day the media finally gets film of a prairie dog peeking out of one Waxman’s nostrils.

        1. You mean a demon or a troll, right?

          1. For the last time, Prairie Dogs are not demons or trolls or any other fanciful creature you dream up because of your disorder. Prairie Dogs are merely burrowing rodents native to the grasslands of North America and Henry Waxman’s horrific nostrils.

            1. Pretty awful to think the poor things have been so deprived of habitat they have had to move into Waxman’s nostrils.

              1. You can thank the unconscionable destruction of American’s grasslands because mumble sprawl mumble light rail mumble sustainable.

            2. My disorder has nothing to do with the gateways to Hell in Waxman’s face. Stop changing the subject!

        2. Thank you SF. Thanks for making me laugh. 😛

  4. So what’s the quid pro quo? I see what the Melgen is getting out of the deal, but what is Menendez getting out of it?

    Why secretly travel to the DR when one can fly commercially and rent a suite in a post hotel so much more cheaply?

    1. … and why did I skip over John’s comment to make mine? 🙂

    2. The free ride in the private jet is much better than commercial. What Melgen is getting is apparently a billion dollar contract. What Menendez is getting is a more interesting question. Free private jet rides are nice, but hardly worth a billion dollar contract. So what is Menendez getting?

      And as I asked above, why the DR? Hookers are plenty available in the US. Why fly all the way to the DR for them?

      I think that both Menendez and Melgen were both perverts who got their grove on with really young girls and Menendez gave Melgen the contract in return for Melgen ensuring Menendez could do his thing with 13 year old kids is at least a plausible explanation. I am waiting to hear an alternative explanation from Menendez’ defenders because I can’t think of one.

      1. Look, if you want fuck 13 year old girls in the US, you run the risk of having Travis Bickle kill everyone. It’s much safer in the DR.

        1. You looking at me Senator?

          1. I learned yesterday that, incredibly, De Niro improvised that scene.

          2. “You’re a funny guy–but looks aren’t everything.”

      2. I’ve been on the corporate jet a couple of times. There is no comparison between private jet service and commercial transport services (even first class on an Asian flagship carrier).

        1. For sure. But if you are a crooked senator, the private jet goes without saying. Menendez could have a gotten a lot more than that for that billion dollar contract. So there was something else going on.

          1. I think you underestimate what our Ruling Class charges for disbursements of other people’s money.

            Private jets to offshore bunga bunga parties with underage hookers strikes me as about right, if not a little on the high side.

            1. That is exactly what I am saying. Private jets to under age hookers, will definitely get you the contracts. But I don’t think just a private jet trip alone will.

              I thin it is overwhelmingly likely that Menendez is a first rate deviant and met Melgen because of their common tastes in deviance. It was underage hookers and private jets for contracts.

              1. Sadly, this episode does not meet the live-boy/dead-girl rule.

              2. Menendez doesn’t try to make his fortune with one giant crooked deal. He sells himself in a great many small deals. That has been his method his entire career.

  5. “all the markings of a dirty trick” because it first emerged just a few days before the election in November.

    Funny, I thought the email about the underage hookers was from several months before the election, and had just been ignored until just before the election.…..est-girls/

  6. Reason number one million why I will never get to be a Senator. If I were a Senator, I would carry around an ipod with speakers and play this every time Menendez walked onto the floor of the Senate or into a committee meeting.

  7. “New Jersey politicians- one foot in the grave, and both hands in the till.”

  8. This time around, the FBI may offer some memory aids.

    That’s a good line.

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