Senate

Menendez Intervened in Port Security Plan that Involved Donor

Discouraged donations of equipment to Dominican Republic so private contractor could get the work

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Senator Robert Menendez sought to discourage any plan by the United States government to donate port security equipment to the Dominican Republic, citing concern that the advanced screening gear might undermine efforts by a private company — run by a major campaign contributor and friend of his — to do the work.

The intervention with the Department of Homeland Security last month came even though Mr. Menendez has publicly chastised the Obama administration for not doing more to combat the surging drug traffic moving through Dominican ports.

And it came shortly after the senator's friend, Dr. Salomon E. Melgen, arranged to meet with a senior State Department official, accompanied by a former aide to Mr. Menendez, in a related push to protect the port security contract, which is worth as much as $500 million over 20 years.