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Re: Emails show FBI investigating Sen. Bob Menendez for sleeping with underage Dominican prostitutes
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http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/e ... -blows-up-menendez-story/

ABC News blows up Menendez story

By Erik Wemple, Published: MARCH 05, 4:59 PM ET

(Gary Cameron/Reuters)

In late January, Martha Raddatz of ABC News conducted an extensive interview with U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.). The session took place after the Daily Caller had reported that Menendez was being investigated by the FBI for ?sleeping with underage Dominican prostitutes.?

Raddatz discussed a number of topics with Menendez: immigration, Benghazi, Chuck Hagel. What she didn?t discuss was the prostitution story, to the dismay of NewsBusters and other aggressive media watchdogs. With a total of six minutes of air time, Raddatz didn?t ask one single question about the FBI?s investigation of Menendez. Wrote Noel Sheppard of NewsBusters: ?Can you imagine her ignoring such an issue if she were interviewing a Republican?That probably would have been the first order of business if not the entire six minutes.?

Now we know why ABC News omitted any mention of these allegations: They knew stuff, and they had their doubts.

In a post today on the ABC News site, Rhonda Schwartz and Brian Ross deliver a few details that upend a Nov. 1 Daily Caller story alleging that Menendez paid for sex in the Dominican Republic. That story consisted of interviews with two alleged prostitutes who attested to having conducted transactions with the senator.

It looks as if ABC News got the same spiel as the Daily Caller. In her story, Schwartz-Ross say that ABC News received back-to-back interviews with the Daily Caller with three women who leveled the allegations against Menendez. As the Washington Post reported yesterday, one of those women has recanted the story and says that the whole operation was an effort to frame Menendez and a friend and donor from Florida, Dr. Salomon Melgen.

Three bombshells from ABC News:

Bombshell No. 1: The recanter yesterday was identified as one Nexis de los Santos Santana. That?s news to ABC News:

In her interview with ABC News before the election, she said her name was Michelle Rodriguez and that she had come forward because Menendez had paid her only $100 of the $500 she had expected. She now says she was coached to make the claim.

Bombshell No. 2 (nuclear): From the story: ?Asked during the interview with ABC News how she knew that the man named ?Bob? was a United States Senator,one of the other women said she had put the name ?Bob? into a web search site and a picture of Menendez popped up.? Here?s what came up on the Erik Wemple Blog?s computer when we searched on ?Bob.?

Bombshell No. 3: ABC News reports a troubling degree of sameness among the women?s accounts: ?Her account of sex with Menendez in the video interview was almost word-for-word the account given by two other women who were produced for interviews about having sex with the man they knew only as ?Bob.?? In other words, there appears to have been some coaching involved here.

The ABC News story isn?t a game changer; it?s a game ender.

ABC News has served as the Menendez story?s sleeping dog. The allegations against Menendez got their start nearly a year ago, when the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), a good-government nonprofit, received an e-mail from a tipster going by the name of ?Peter Williams.? In correspondence with CREW, ?Peter Williams? alleged that Menendez had engaged ?young prostitutes? in the Dominican Republic. CREW pushed this fellow to come forward or at least chat on the phone about the charges. After it failed to make headway on the story, it passed the tip along to ABC News. It also forwarded the unsubstantiated allegations to the FBI and the Justice Department.

ABC News?s early and apparently deep reporting on the allegations enabled it to avoid imprudent flirtations with Menendez-Prostitution Inc. Take CNN, for example: It sent an investigative reporter to the Dominican Republic to poke around a bit, only to come up with nothing. End result: Push the rumor further into the mainstream media. The Washington Post and Politico, furthermore, published pieces analyzing Menendez?s future in case the allegations panned out.

The trail of facts depicts an admirable act of prosecutorial restraint on the part of ABC News. Since it didn?t get the goods ?indeed, it appears that the goods may well have been ungettable ?it kept its mouth shut. That it didn?t come forth to crush the story until today makes a good deal of sense: The new revelations about one Nexis de los Santos Santana offered the network an entree into the story, in that it contradicted the reporting that ABC News had done on the same person, ?Michelle Rodriguez.? Absent that inconsistency, any debunking piece would have lacked the credibility of the Schwartz-Ross collaboration that hit the web today.

The whimsical gene of the Erik Wemple Blog, however, would have enjoyed watching ABC News dropping its ?Bob? search-engine revelation a few weeks back, just to crush all the conjecture buzzing around about the senator. ?We publish stories when we?re ready to publish them and not a moment sooner and in this particular case, there were efforts to push us to publish coming from all sorts of directions, which we resisted,? says ABC News spokesman Jeffrey W. Schneider.

Posted on: 2013/3/6 15:21
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Re: Emails show FBI investigating Sen. Bob Menendez for sleeping with underage Dominican prostitutes
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Quote:
JPhurst wrote:
Quote:
borisp wrote:
So, a couple of updates:


1. Washington Post report confuses one prostitute with another in bid to debunk Menendez allegations: "The Washington Post mistook one prostitute for another Monday in a report that initially seemed to debunk a November 2012 Daily Caller expos? of New Jersey Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez."

2. Washington Post quietly makes major change to Menendez story: "Without informing readers in the story or elsewhere, on Monday night The Washington Post deleted its explicit claim that the Dominican prostitute who recanted her allegation against Sen. Robert Menendez had appeared in a video posted to The Daily Caller."


What a trustworthy source, them newspapers!

3. Anyways, here is the important part of the story:
Bob Menendez 101. A WFB Infographic: The story of Bob Menendez and his donor Salomon Melgen



The Daily Caller, doubling down on the dumb.

Tucker Carlson sure has sunk ever since John Stewart bitch slapped him on Crossfire.


Of course. The Daily Caller that forced the Washington Post to correct their article surely looks dumb. And the Washington Post that was forced to correct its article - looks smart and very, very superior.

And the Post altered it silently without posting any visible corrections notices because... because... Ah, I know, I know, - because this is the new journalistic standard of integrity! That The Daily Caller is lacking! Oh, yeah!!!


Posted on: 2013/3/6 13:05
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Re: Emails show FBI investigating Sen. Bob Menendez for sleeping with underage Dominican prostitutes
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Quote:

borisp wrote:
So, a couple of updates:


1. Washington Post report confuses one prostitute with another in bid to debunk Menendez allegations: "The Washington Post mistook one prostitute for another Monday in a report that initially seemed to debunk a November 2012 Daily Caller expos? of New Jersey Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez."

2. Washington Post quietly makes major change to Menendez story: "Without informing readers in the story or elsewhere, on Monday night The Washington Post deleted its explicit claim that the Dominican prostitute who recanted her allegation against Sen. Robert Menendez had appeared in a video posted to The Daily Caller."


What a trustworthy source, them newspapers!

3. Anyways, here is the important part of the story:
Bob Menendez 101. A WFB Infographic: The story of Bob Menendez and his donor Salomon Melgen




The Daily Caller, doubling down on the dumb.

Tucker Carlson sure has sunk ever since John Stewart bitch slapped him on Crossfire.

Posted on: 2013/3/6 3:25
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Re: Emails show FBI investigating Sen. Bob Menendez for sleeping with underage Dominican prostitutes
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So, a couple of updates:


1. Washington Post report confuses one prostitute with another in bid to debunk Menendez allegations: "The Washington Post mistook one prostitute for another Monday in a report that initially seemed to debunk a November 2012 Daily Caller expos? of New Jersey Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez."

2. Washington Post quietly makes major change to Menendez story: "Without informing readers in the story or elsewhere, on Monday night The Washington Post deleted its explicit claim that the Dominican prostitute who recanted her allegation against Sen. Robert Menendez had appeared in a video posted to The Daily Caller."


What a trustworthy source, them newspapers!

3. Anyways, here is the important part of the story:
Bob Menendez 101. A WFB Infographic: The story of Bob Menendez and his donor Salomon Melgen



Posted on: 2013/3/6 1:42
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Re: Emails show FBI investigating Sen. Bob Menendez for sleeping with underage Dominican prostitutes
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Oh thank god, I was wondering which one of our 535 Congressmen represents the 51st state. I guess Bob won out over all the rest.

Posted on: 2013/3/5 20:17
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Re: Emails show FBI investigating Sen. Bob Menendez for sleeping with underage Dominican prostitutes
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Menendez shows support to Israel in first major speech as Senate committee chair

By Salvador Rizzo/The Star-Ledger
March 05, 2013 at 11:54 AM

WASHINGTON ? U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez voiced a strong defense of Israel today in his first major speech as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, saying ?there will never be any daylight between the United States and Israel on my watch.?

Speaking at an annual conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), Menendez (D-N.J.) said he would vigorously defend Israel?s interests with the powers of his new office.

He said that the U.S. government must do all it can to prevent Iran from gaining the capability to produce nuclear weapons, calling that nation ?the greatest threat to Israel?s security.?

?We cannot, we must not, and we will not stand for a nuclear Iran,? Menendez said, vowing to continue a policy of tough economic sanctions that he says are ?strangling? that government by depriving it of $8 billion of crude oil revenue per quarter.

He also rebuked Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan for comments made last week at a United Nations gathering in Vienna. Erdogan had called Zionism ?a crime against humanity? akin to fascism or anti-Semitism.

?We are committed to an alliance with Turkey but we cannot accept such comments,? Menendez said.

The senator said he was hopeful that Israel and Palestine?s long conflict could end with a two-state solution, but he called on Palestinians to return to the negotiating table and ?stop the stunts and distractions at the United Nations.?

The Middle East remains volatile, he added, after a series of revolutions beginning in 2010 known as the ?Arab Spring.?

Menendez said he supports a ?multi-tiered? missile defense system for Israel that would expand what it currently has. He also said the United States should keep helping Egypt improve its economy, and said Congress would only keep aiding that country so long as Egypt honors a 1979 peace treaty with Israel.

Menendez, the second-term senator from Hudson County, took over the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in February from John Kerry, the former U.S. senator who became secretary of state.

Lonny Kaplan, a former AIPAC president from New Jersey, introduced Menendez as ?a great friend and true leader.?

?He has led the effort to ensure that when we do negotiate with Iran, it is on our terms,? Kaplan said.

http://www.nj.com/politics/index.ssf/ ... _israel.html#incart_river

Posted on: 2013/3/5 20:04
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Re: Emails show FBI investigating Sen. Bob Menendez for sleeping with underage Dominican prostitutes
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AlexC wrote:
Let me make one wild guess...Republican operatives?


Yes. And the friend who took Menendez to the DOminican republic didn't do that. The plane itself denies ever seeing Menendez.


Posted on: 2013/3/5 2:56
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Re: Emails show FBI investigating Sen. Bob Menendez for sleeping with underage Dominican prostitutes
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Let me make one wild guess...Republican operatives?

Posted on: 2013/3/5 2:37
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Re: Emails show FBI investigating Sen. Bob Menendez for sleeping with underage Dominican prostitutes
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From Forbes:

"The Washington Post is reporting that one of the alleged escorts who accused New Jersey Democrat Robert Menendez of having paid her for sex has told Dominican Republic police that she was indeed paid?not for sex but to fabricate the story.

According to an affidavit executed by the woman and acquired by the Post, the woman?and her colleague?were approached by an unnamed attorney who offered a sum of money to read a prepared script containing allegations that the two had provided sexual favors to the New Jersey Senator while he was vacationing in the Dominican Republic. Unbeknownst to the women, the reading was then captured on videotape.

The affidavit also confirms that the accuser has never so much as met Senator Menendez.

Authorities have been successful in contacting the lawyer who allegedly approached the women who reports that he had also been approached by another lawyer who paid him to execute the assignment."


http://www.forbes.com/sites/rickungar ... med-senator-bob-menendez/[quote]

Posted on: 2013/3/5 0:51
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Re: Emails show FBI investigating Sen. Bob Menendez for sleeping with underage Dominican prostitutes
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Menendez-sponsored bill could have benefited donor's investment

By The Associated Press
March 04, 2013 at 12:02 PM

WASHINGTON ? Sen. Robert Menendez sponsored legislation with incentives for natural gas vehicle conversions that would benefit the biggest political donor to his re-election, the same eye doctor whose private jet Menendez used for two personal trips to the Dominican Republic, an Associated Press investigation found.

The disclosure reflects the latest intersection between the New Jersey Democrat who is the subject of an ethics inquiry on Capitol Hill and the Florida doctor involved in a federal criminal investigation.

Dr. Salomon Melgen invested in Gaseous Fuel Systems Corp. of Weston, Fla., and joined its board of directors in early 2010, according to the company's chief executive and a former company consultant. GFS, as the company is known, designs, manufactures and sells products to convert diesel-fuel fleets to natural gas. The amount of Melgen's investment is confidential under rules of the Securities and Exchange Commission, but a 2009 document filed with the SEC showed the company required a minimum individual investment at that time of $51,500.

At the same time, Menendez emerged as a principal supporter of a natural gas bill that would boost tax credits and grants to truck and heavy vehicle fleets that converted to alternative fuels. The bill stalled in the Senate Finance Committee, and after it was revived in 2012, the NAT GAS Act failed to win the needed 60 votes to pass.

While the bill was under consideration between 2009 and 2011, the former consultant for GFS spent $220,000 lobbying Menendez's staff and other congressional and federal officials on the act's provisions as well as other regulatory issues, according to interviews and Senate records.

There is no evidence that Menendez offered direct help or intervened on behalf of the company or Melgen. Instead, the connection between the two men's interests in natural gas is the latest example of the close symmetry between the senator ? who recently rose to become chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee ? and his millionaire backer. It illustrates the way Menendez's political clout has at times overlapped with Melgen's financial investments.

In recent weeks, Menendez has acknowledged other dealings with Melgen. Menendez was compelled to reimburse $58,000 for two flights aboard Melgen's private jet that he had previously failed to report, prompting scrutiny by the Senate Ethics Committee. Menendez also acknowledged that his office had contacted U.S. health agencies in 2009 and 2012 to question their billing practices and policies amid a dispute between Melgen, an eye specialist, and federal health authorities. FBI agents in January searched Melgen's offices in Florida and seized files as part of a criminal investigation.

Menendez also raised concerns last year with State and Commerce Department officials about the Dominican Republic's reluctance to enforce a port security contract with a company that Melgen partly owns.

A spokeswoman for Menendez, Patricia Enright, told the AP that the senator supported the natural gas bill to help improve the environment. She said Menendez personally had no known discussions with either Melgen or others associated with GFS concerning the legislation or its impact on the company. She said it was unclear whether the senator will continue to support the bill he had sponsored.

Melgen's attorney in Miami, Kirk Ogrosky, told the AP in a statement that "Dr. Melgen has never discussed his involvement with Gaseous Fuel Systems Corp. with either Sen. Menendez or his staff."

An SEC document filed last week by GFS showed that Melgen remains on the company's board of directors. An earlier document filed by the firm in May 2011 was the first to show Melgen as a director. That SEC record showed a $6 million investment in the firm from two unnamed individuals.

The company's top executive, Ken Green, said Melgen is a key investor but has had no influence on the company's decision-making and has not attended any director's meetings since he joined the firm.

"Dr. Melgen hasn't ever been to our offices, not once," Green told the AP. "He's a passive investor."

Green said the Senate bill that Menendez supported would provide only limited help to his company because most of its provisions are aimed at heavy on-road vehicles like truck rigs and bus fleets. GFS has pioneered an engine conversion system that can be installed on diesel-fueled vehicles, but Green said it is marketed exclusively for off-road equipment, such as massive mining trucks. The tax credits proposed by the bill would do little to offset the cost to buyers of the off-road trucks, which can cost as much as $8 million, Green said.

"This bill won't do much of anything for us," he said.

But in 2010, when Melgen first invested in GFS, the firm was actively considering marketing its natural gas engine devices for on-road vehicles. The bill, both in its 2009 and 2012 versions, authorized changes to IRS rules allowing larger tax credits for on-road, natural gas-supplied trucks and vehicles as well as grants for research. The proposal also urged the Environmental Protection Agency to streamline rules covering the conversion of diesel and gas engines to natural gas and alternative fuels.

GFS said in October 2010 in a press release that its strategy "integrates four related areas of business development," including "on-road coal truck conversions." The release, written by the company's consultant and then-director of strategic projects, Elio Muller, also said that "a vast number of on-road 18-wheeler tractor-trailer trucks hauling coal" in the Appalachian region of Kentucky and West Virginia could be converted to combination diesel-natural gas engines with the GFS system.

Muller, a former Commerce Department official in the Clinton administration involved in several Tampa businesses, said last week that he introduced Melgen to Green and other GFS officials in early 2010. Green also said Muller was instrumental in bringing the company to Melgen's attention. Muller said he has known Melgen from Florida's Democratic political circles dating back to the late 1990s. At one point, Muller drew up plans to start a business, Melgen & Muller Inc., but the men never followed through.

Melgen has made investments in health-related companies since the 1990s, according to SEC reports, but his GFS stake is his only evident natural gas-related investment. Green said he met several times with Melgen and found him to be an "intelligent investor" but could not explain his sudden interest in natural gas.

"I don't know how he found out about natural gas, but he liked what we were doing and thought it was innovative," Green said.

By early 2010, when Melgen formally joined GFS, Menendez had already taken on a key role in backing the natural gas bill, joining Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada and Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah as out-front sponsors.

The NAT GAS Act quickly drew energy and environmental battle lines. Oil and alternative energy magnate T. Boone Pickens led corporate natural gas industry backers of the bill, aided by the Obama administration and influential environmental groups. Arrayed against the bill were top oil and coal firms and even some green activists, joined by industrialists David and Charles Koch, whose political action group, Americans for Prosperity, harnessed opposition from conservative groups.

Green said he did not authorize or hire any lobbyists on behalf of GFS because he was skeptical about broadening into the markets for on-road trucks. But he did not block the activities of Muller, who in addition to his consulting role with GFS, had also started his own firm, Diesel 2 Gas. It aimed to license GFS technology and use the firm's parts to outfit on-road trucks.

In June 2010, representing both GFS and Diesel 2 Gas, Muller testified before an EPA panel in Ann Arbor, Mich., about what he called "cumbersome and unnecessary" rules that hurt GFS and other natural gas firms. The EPA agreed to alter its regulations in April 2011.

Between 2009 and 2011, Muller also ran an independent consulting firm, Muller Group Inc., which paid $220,000 to lobbyists from Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck LLP to lobby for the NAT GAS Act and related issues.

Muller said he accompanied the lobbyists in at least one meeting with Menendez' staff about the bill but could not recall details. Melgen and Muller joined Menendez at a signing ceremony in Miami in January 2010 for the senator's book, "Growing American Roots." And last June, they joined Menendez at the annual U.S.-Spain Council Annual Forum in Jersey City.

Muller said he did not discuss his lobbying activities with Melgen, even though they were both involved with GFS.

Both Muller and Melgen also have fundraising ties to Menendez. Muller gave $5,000 to Menendez' New Jersey Senate re-election campaign in 2011. Melgen has been a staunch supporter, giving more than $14,000 directly to Menendez since the late 1990s and, through his eye clinic, donating $700,000 last year to a "super" political committee that supported Democratic Senate candidates. The committee, in turn, spent $582,000 to back Menendez' campaign.

http://www.nj.com/politics/index.ssf/ ... l_could.html#incart_river

Posted on: 2013/3/5 0:29
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Re: Emails show FBI investigating Sen. Bob Menendez for sleeping with underage Dominican prostitutes
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Dana Milbank "The Senator of the Evening"

"There is no evidence that the squat 59-year-old is selling his body, thank heavens. But reporting does suggest that he has been selling his influence and demeaning the body politic."

Posted on: 2013/2/12 3:16
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Re: Emails show FBI investigating Sen. Bob Menendez for sleeping with underage Dominican prostitutes
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Ha! "when it came to my attention" ...

Posted on: 2013/2/7 18:26
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Re: Emails show FBI investigating Sen. Bob Menendez for sleeping with underage Dominican prostitutes
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February 4th, 2013 CNN - 06:34 PM ET Sen. Menendez talks with CNN's Dana Bash about prostitution allegations As he faces prostitution allegations, Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) talks with CNN chief Congressional correspondent Dana Bash on Capitol Hill today. Bash asked the senator about the prostitution allegations and why it took him so long to pay back his travel on a private plane. Sen. Menendez to CNN?s Bash on the prostitution allegations, ?The smears that right-wing blogs have been pushing since the election. And that is totally unsubstantiated. It's amazing to me that anonymous, nameless, faceless individuals on a Web site can drive that type of story into the mainstream. But that's what they've done successful. Now, nobody can find them. No one ever met them. No one ever talked to them, but that's where we're at. So the bottom line is all of those smears are absolutely false and, you know, that's the bottom line.? More from the interview is after the jump. MANDATORY CREDIT: CNN Chief Congressional Correspondent Dana Bash Highlights from Full Interview: THIS IS A RUSH FDCH TRANSCRIPT. IT MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. DANA BASH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Senator, could you just say why it took so long to pay back almost $60,000 in flights that you took with your friend? SEN. ROBERT MENENDEZ (D), NEW JERSEY: Well, I was in a big travel schedule in 2010. I was the chair of the DSCC plus my own campaign getting ready for a reelection cycle. And in the process of all of that, it unfortunately fell through the cracks that our processes didn't catch moving forward and making sure that we paid. When it came to my attention that payment had not taken place, I personally paid for them in order to meet my obligations. BASH: And you, of course, understand the perception that you say when it came to your attention, that you didn't pay it - pay for it until you got caught. MENENDEZ: Well, that's not the case. The bottom line is, when it came to my attention, I paid for it. You know, there were a series of flights that were alleged. Several of them were, you know, shown not to be the case. But after the election, when I got to look at the allegations and I did my own self-inspection, I ultimately came forward. As a matter of fact, one of those flights, I self-reported. There wasn't even anybody (INAUDIBLE). -- BASH: One last question. Can you just answer the allegation that has been out there that you... MENENDEZ: The smears? BASH: - that you were with prostitutes there? MENENDEZ: The smears that right-wing blogs have been pushing since the election. And that is totally unsubstantiated. It's amazing to me that anonymous, nameless, faceless individuals on a Web site can drive that type of story into the mainstream. But that's what they've done successful. Now, nobody can find them. No one ever met them. No one ever talked to them, but that's where we're at. So the bottom line is all of those smears are absolutely false and, you know, that's the bottom line. http://cnnpressroom.blogs.cnn.com/201 ... legations/?iref=allsearch

Posted on: 2013/2/5 8:20
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Re: Emails show FBI investigating Sen. Bob Menendez for sleeping with underage Dominican prostitutes
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Political Insider: Just when things looked like clear sailing for Menendez

By Agustin C. Torres/The Jersey Journal
February 02, 2013 at 11:00 AM

At the start of the new year, things looked bright for U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez, Hudson County's federal legislator by way of Union City, Hoboken and North Bergen. He won re-election in November and he is in line to take over as chairman of the ultra-powerful Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Now the committee is a punchline. Menendez has suddenly become the media's Lindsey Lohan of the Capital Beltway.

I've known the senator since he was a teen aide for his mentor, the late state powertician Bill Musto, who was mayor of Union City and a highly influential New Jersey state senator. ("I take my coffee with cream and no sugar, thanks Bob.") His rise to the exclusive club we know as the U.S. Senate is a novel in the making with a number of very Runyunesque characters.

I have no concept of the fauna he mingles with since he left for Congress, but it seems the rough and tumble politics he was anxious to leave behind in Hudson County have followed him to D.C. Either that or his county DNA has surfaced. Whatever the case, Menendez has serious Bill Clinton-like problems.

A phone message to the senator's flack on Thursday did not muster a return call from either Menendez or his lackey, a term I was advised not to use. The days when Menendez, then mayor of Union City, and I spent talking -- him picking my brain about what his fellow commissioners were thinking -- are long past. I can't blame him for ducking since he was avoiding all media and refusing interviews this week.

Let me go over what has happened, for those who are just living for that Baltimore Ravens victory in tomorrow's Super Bowl and have tuned out all other news. If you know the whole story, skip the next five paragraphs.

The latest bombshell came yesterday from The New York Times. Menendez has been more than just suggesting to officials of the State and Commerce departments to lean on the Dominican Republic government to honor an estimated $500 million port security contract for one of his major campaign donors. Although the contract had been approved in 2003, the Dominicans sat on it with the Caribbean Island's administration calling the 10-year pact extravagant.

Menendez's staff calls it simply advocating for an American company. Only the contract would help Florida ophthalmologist Dr. Salomon E. Melgen, who has provided Menendez with campaign funds and trips to the Dominican Republic on a private jet. And, Melgen has financial problems that include an $11.2 million lien lodged against him by the IRS.

The Melgen and Menendez connection first publicly surfaced on the Internet in posts by right-wing bloggers who made unsubstantiated allegations that the flights on the Melgen jet were pimp rides for trysts with prostitutes, some supposedly underaged. One must always consider the sources of such tenacious and often rabid charges.

The media became more interested in the Melgen and Menendez relationship after the doctor's West Palm Beach, Fla., office was raided Tuesday and Wednesday by FBI agents who removed cartons of documents. Although the Miami Herald headlines say the feds are targeting Medicare fraud and political corruption, there was no attribution. Melgen's attorney is quoted as saying that the probe involves his client and he has no knowledge of anything involving Menendez. Sorry, but that horse -- err, jet -- has already left.

What will hurt Menendez the most was his having to pay last month for two trips on Melgen's jet. A check for $58,500 was made out to Melgen for flights -- essentially personal vacations never reported as gifts -- taken more than two years ago. This was a serious lapse in judgment. What happened to just flying coach on Continental Airlines?

What Menendez faces is more than likely a Clintonian path that begins with some Republican senator from one of the countless hamlets between the coasts bringing formal ethics charges against the North Bergen Democrat.

Like Clinton, who faced charges of perjury and obstruction of justice, Menendez will be accused of not reporting the extravagant gifts, jet flights. Like the former president, the only part that will interest anyone will be the subplot -- allegations of sex and all the details.

Even his leadership of the Foreign Relations Committee could be in jeopardy.

What could soften the blow is the Republican Party's desire to woo the Hispanic vote. It would not look good if the GOP piles on Menendez. Instead, look for the senator's "escapades" to be manipulated by the usual GOP watchdog groups and other drum beaters.

I didn't even mention the flak Menendez took when it was discovered that he had hired an illegal/sex offender for his Senate office. It's going to be a long year for the U.S. senator from Hudson County.

HARRISON MAYOR LOSES MIND?

It was not a surprise to most Hudson County Democrats that Harrison Mayor Ray McDonough and his fellow Democrats on the Town Council would endorse Gov. Chris Christie at a press conference in an East Newark diner on Thursday.

I'm amazed that the media found East Newark, a municipality I once dubbed the Brigadoon of Hudson County, a place that comes out of the mist once every 100 years.

Bayonne Mayor Mark Smith, chairman of the Hudson County Democratic Organization, said Dems were not shocked because McDonough had been attending a number of Christie's statewide town hall meetings. More than likely thinking the mayor from West Hudson lost his mind, Smith said "he rushed" his decision. Smith said McDonough should have asked himself if his town is better off today than it was a year ago -- taxes and unemployment are still high.

I was interested in whether McDonough faces HCDeadO reprisal similar to that of West New York Mayor Dr. Felix Roque, who had the gumption to endorse state Sen. Joe Kyrillos, a Republican, over Sen. Menendez. Smith kept Roque's county committee people off the HCDeadO primary line, even after Roque took back his endorsement.

C'mon, let's face it. As one Democratic wag put it: "McDonough doesn't wipe his nose, unless he first asks North Bergen Mayor and Sen. Nick Sacco."

This is the same Sacco whose Department of Public Works has seen four DPW supervisors indicted by a state grand jury, and another plead guilty, on official misconduct charges. And there is no indication that the probe by the state Attorney General's Office has subsided. Hmmmm.

Look for a few more obvious Democratic endorsements for the governor out of Hudson County.


INSIDER NOTES

-- What happened to Jersey City Mayor Jerramiah Healy's planned fund-raiser at Michael Anthony's on the Jersey City waterfront? I'm told the event at the restaurant and catering hall owned by city Planning Board Chairman Mike Ryan did not take place. What could have happened? Did they not sell enough tickets? Or was it something else;)?

Well, at least Healy has another barn burner Tuesday at the Casino in the Park at $100 a ducat.


-- Hudson County officials held a meeting this week, attended by County Executive Tom DeGise and his chief of staff, Bill Gaughan, and there was some talk about the Menendez news, say sources. Needless to say that some were not sympathetic to the senator's plight but words were measured because an old Menendez pal, county Administrator Abe Antun, was present. I don't believe the U.S. senator and Antun are as close as they once were, when both were part of that Union City rat pack right out of Union Hill High School, along with eventual city Councilman Manny Diaz and now attorney Donald Scarinci.

-- Announced this week: Jersey City Councilwoman at large Viola Richardson will seek re-election as part of the Healy Team. Ward C Councilwoman Nidia Lopez will look to return to her seat on the slate headed by Downtown Councilman Steven Fulop. Well, that splits up the gal pals who were often seen hugging and supporting each other as they made an unsuccessful attempt to dump Councilman Peter Brennan as the governing body's president. Politics is fickle.


-- U.S. Rep. Albio Sires, D-8th District, issued a statement yesterday that he was backing Menendez over allegations by an anonymous tipster. See the pimp stuff above. What bothers me is that I called him Thursday at his other home in Florida and he didn't want to talk very much. The next day he syndicates his support for the senator. What changed in 24 hours? I guess it is not really a question.

Editor's note: Jersey Journal Political Editor Agustin Torres' column appears every Saturday.

http://www.nj.com/hudson/voices/index ... when_th.html#incart_river

Posted on: 2013/2/3 6:05
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Congressman Sires supports Sen. Menendez, calling allegations against his friend 'partisan'

By The Jersey Journal
February 01, 2013 at 8:38 PM

U.S. Rep. Albio Sires, D-8th District, issued a statement today supporting U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez who may be the target of a federal probe for accepting several trips to the Dominican Republic on a donor's private jet.

"Sen. Robert Menendez has been a colleague and a friend for many years. We have worked closely together on many issues affecting New Jersey residents. At all times I have found Senator Menendez to be hard working and a dedicated public servant. These attacks on the senator were first delivered before the senator's re-election this past November. I believe the attacks were an attempt to block the senator from becoming chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. This is a very powerful post in Washington.

"Yesterday, the senator and his office made it clear that the salacious allegations are false. The source of these allegations appears to be an anonymous tipster that spends its time delivering partisan attacks.

"It is my belief that these allegations will soon be put to rest so the senator can continue to do what the people of New Jersey elected him to do.

"I look forward to continuing to work with Senator Menendez on issues of vital concern to our constituents."

Sires' statement doesn't address the latest news.

Today, The New York Times reported that Menendez has suggested to officials of the State and Commerce departments urge the Dominican Republic government to honor an estimated $500 million port security contract for Florida ophthalmologist Dr. Salomon E. Melgen, a campaign donor who has provided Menendez with trips to the Dominican Republic on a private jet. Although the contract had been approved in 2003, the Dominicans sat on it. The Caribbean Island's administration called the pact overly extravagant.

The doctor's West Palm Beach, Fla. office was raided Tuesday and Wednesday by FBI agents who removed cartons of documents. Melgen's attorney has been quoted as saying that the probe involves his client and that he has no knowledge of anything involving Menendez.

Last month, Menendez paid for two 2010 trips on Melgen's jet for personal vacations, gifts that were never reported. A check for $58,500 was made out to Melgen for the flights.

For months, the senator has been denying claims by right-wing Internet bloggers that the flights to the Caribbean island included trysts with prostitutes, some underaged, accusations that have never been substantiatedSires, who like Menendez is from North Hudson County and of Cuban descent, was Mayor of West New York, 1995-2006, and followed Menendez's footprints through the state Legislature and Congress.

The congressman was reached by phone Thursday at his second home in Florida but was reluctant then to make a statement about the Menendez issue.

http://www.nj.com/hudson/index.ssf/20 ... rts_sen.html#incart_river

Posted on: 2013/2/2 6:37
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Senator Has Long Ties to Donor Under Scrutiny

January 31, 2013
The New York Times
By RAYMOND HERNANDEZ and FRANCES ROBLES

Dr. Salomon E. Melgen, a wealthy Florida eye surgeon, has always been happy to help out his friend, Senator Robert Menendez of New Jersey.

He rushed to the senator?s side when Mr. Menendez?s mother died, flew him around on his private jet and delivered hundreds of thousands of dollars to benefit Mr. Menendez and the national Democratic Party.

Mr. Menendez, a Democrat, has also been helpful to Dr. Melgen, according to records and interviews, in ways that could bring the doctor a highly lucrative windfall.

Two years ago, Dr. Melgen, despite an apparent lack of experience in border security issues, bought an ownership interest in a company that had a long-dormant contract with the Dominican Republic to provide port security. Mr. Menendez, who is chairman of the Senate subcommittee that holds sway over the Dominican Republic, subsequently urged officials in the State and Commerce Departments to intervene so the contract would be enforced, at an estimated value of $500 million.

This week, a team of agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation raided Dr. Melgen?s offices in West Palm Beach, removing 30 boxes of documents and other material, and the senator now finds himself defending his relationship with a major political benefactor just as he is on the verge of reaching the most prestigious post of his career ? the chairmanship of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

An F.B.I. spokesman declined to describe the focus of the agency?s inquiry. A law enforcement official cautioned that there were many issues involving Dr. Melgen that could be under scrutiny.

On Wednesday, Dr. Melgen released a statement through his lawyer: ?The government has not informed Dr. Melgen what its concerns are. However, we are confident that Dr. Melgen has acted appropriately at all times.?

Mr. Menendez, who was re-elected last year, declined to be interviewed. His office issued a statement, saying, in part, ?Dr. Melgen has been a friend and political supporter of Senator Menendez for many years,? and an aide said in an interview that the senator had done nothing improper in advocating for Dr. Melgen?s business interests.

Aides to the senator said, however, that Mr. Menendez had accepted two round-trip flights aboard Dr. Melgen?s jet for personal vacations in the Dominican Republic in 2010. He failed to report them as gifts or reimburse Dr. Melgen at the time, as required, and this month he sent the doctor a check to cover the cost of the flights.

The friendship between the two men goes back to the 1990s, when Mr. Menendez, who entered the House of Representatives in 1993, began regularly visiting the Dominican Republic. They spent holidays together, often in the Dominican Republic, where Dr. Melgen has a home in Casa de Campo, a gated oceanfront resort where houses cost as much as $20 million and which has been home to some of the country?s richest residents, like Oscar de la Renta.

Both enjoyed a good cigar and playing golf; Casa de Campo has several places to play, designed by the renowned course architect Pete Dye.

Dr. Melgen, who friends say longed to play the role of power broker, and his wife began donating to Mr. Menendez?s Congressional campaigns in the late 1990s, and their contributions grew, along with their friendship, over the years. By the time of the 2009-10 election cycle, when Mr. Menendez took charge of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, Dr. Melgen became an important fund-raiser for the effort. In May 2010, he flew the senator to the Dominican Republic and held a fund-raiser at his home. He and his wife gave the committee $60,000 and helped raised more.

Later that summer, Dr. Melgen also flew Mr. Menendez to the Dominican Republic for the two short personal vacations, in August and September. Aides said it was simply because of sloppy paperwork that the senator did not repay Dr. Melgen at the time. After reports surfaced late last year on The Daily Caller, a conservative Web site, about his travels with Dr. Melgen, the senator recently sent Dr. Melgen?s company a check for $58,500.

Also in 2010, Dr. Melgen moved to buy the ownership interest in ICSSI, a company based in the Caribbean that had been awarded a contract to provide extensive screening of cargo from ports in the Dominican Republic. The Dominican government was refusing to honor that contract, after Miguel Cocco, then the Dominican customs director, had long said the deal was an exorbitant giveaway to the company.

In a letter to the president?s legal adviser, Mr. Cocco said that the deal was ?against the interests of the Dominican government, due to its one-sided nature, exorbitant clauses, that it violates Dominican laws,? and that there had been a ?lack of transparency, commercial ethics in the granting of the contract.?

Dr. Melgen brought the matter to the attention of Mr. Menendez. Estimates vary on the contract?s value, but critics say it could cost as much as $50 million annually; the original terms of the contract, approved in 2003, called for 20 years of payments.

The American Chamber of Commerce of the Dominican Republic has opposed the deal. Some Dominican business leaders have suggested that Dr. Melgen is trying to use his political connections to force the contract to be paid.

?The owners of ICSSI have been actively seeking a partner who would be able to get the contract implemented,? the chamber?s executive vice president, William Malamud, said. ?He seemed to convince them that he had what it takes. But he has, to my knowledge, no previous experience in port security.?

Aides acknowledged on Wednesday that Mr. Menendez had spoken to State Department officials about the contract. And at a hearing of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere last July, he questioned two administration officials ? Francisco J. S?nchez, the undersecretary for international trade at the Commerce Department, and Matthew Rooney, the deputy assistant secretary in the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs for the State Department ? about why the United States government had not been more aggressive on the issue. The senator said more security was needed given the drug trade on the island.

?You have another company that has American investors that is seeking to ? has a contract actually given to it by the ? kind of ratified by the Dominican Congress to do X-ray of all of the cargo that goes through the ports, which have been problematic and for which in the past narcotics have been included in those cargo,? the senator said at the hearing, according to a transcript provided by the National Legal and Policy Center, a government watchdog group. ?And they don?t want to live by the contract either. You have some of the other countries that I have mentioned today with arbitration awards that have gone against them, and yet they don?t want to live by that. Well, what are we willing to do??

Mr. Menendez?s chief of staff, Daniel O?Brien, said there was nothing unusual about the advocacy, saying the senator had always fought for ?U.S. companies that are not being treated fairly or have issues pending in foreign countries.?

But Ken Boehm, the chairman of the government watchdog group, called the actions troubling. ?At a minimum, the public is entitled to know more about this relationship,? Mr. Boehm said. ?It?s a matter of transparency and accountability.?

Supporters of Dr. Melgen said he and the senator were now the focus of attacks because Dominican drug traffickers want to undermine the port deal.

The friendship between the two men is a focus among prominent Latinos, especially those with interests involving the Obama administration.

?Whenever I see Menendez, I see him with this medical doctor,? said Bernardo Vega, a former Dominican ambassador to the United States and now editor of a magazine that has been critical of the port deal.

In Florida political circles, one Miami Democrat explained, it is understood that anyone seeking a federal appointment that requires Mr. Menendez?s blessing should first get Dr. Melgen?s backing.

?If you needed Bob, you had to see Melgen,? said the Democrat, who insisted on anonymity for fear of upsetting party leaders. ?Everybody in Miami knew that.?

In addition to the security company, in 2011 Dr. Melgen founded a Latino-oriented news Web site, Voxxi, which has also emphasized the need for the port security deal and glowingly depicted Mr. Menendez as a giant among Latinos. A former employee, who spoke on the condition of anonymity out of fear of career damage, said Dr. Melgen would often intervene in the coverage, requiring editors to play down achievements by Republicans like Senator Marco Rubio of Florida and replace it with praise for Mr. Menendez.

And Dr. Melgen may have found another route to help Mr. Menendez and his party in the elections last fall, when the senator faced Joe Kyrillos, a Republican in the New Jersey Senate, whose candidacy was heavily promoted by one of Mr. Menendez?s chief antagonists ? Gov. Chris Christie.

In the end, Mr. Menendez won with about 58 percent of the vote, partly because of the support he received from Majority PAC, a ?super PAC? set up by former aides to Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the Democratic majority leader.

As the campaign entered its final weeks, the PAC poured $582,500 into New Jersey to support Mr. Menendez?s re-election effort. One of the organization?s biggest donors? Dr. Melgen?s company, which donated $700,000 between June and October.

Kitty Bennett and Derek Willis contributed reporting.

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/01/nyr ... tml?pagewanted=1&_r=1&hp&

Posted on: 2013/2/2 6:29
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NY Times: Menendez urged U.S. officials to convince Dominican Republic to honor donor's $500M contract

By The Jersey Journal
February 01, 2013 at 4:59 PM

U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez, D-NJ, has urged officials of the State and Commerce departments to convince the Dominican Republic government to honor an estimated $500 million port security contract on behalf of a major donor to the senator's campaigns, The New York Times reports today.

The senator's staff called Menendez's effort just advocacy on behalf of an American company whose contract with the Dominican Republic has remained dormant since it was approved in 2003, according to The Times.

The donor and principal in the security firm is Florida opthalmologist Dr. Salomon E. Melgen, who has provided Menendez with trips to the Dominican Republic on a private jet. Melgen has financial problems that includes an $11.2 million lien lodged against him by the IRS.

The relationship between Melgen and Menendez, who is expected to chair the powerful Senate Foreign Relations Committee, came under scrutiny after the doctor's West Palm Beach, Fla. office was raided Tuesday and Wednesday by FBI agents who removed cartons of documents. Melegan's attorney said he believes the raid is focused specifically on his client.

Months of unsubstantiated allegations by conservative bloggers that the jet trips to the Caribbean island included trysts with prostitutes drew angry denials from Menendez, calling them smear campaigns.

The ties between Menendez and Melgen drew media interest with the FBI raid and admission by the senator's office that in January the senator paid the eye doctor $58,500 for two jet trips to the Dominican Republic that he took in 2010. Those trips were personal vacations that were never reported as gifts.

http://www.nj.com/hudson/index.ssf/20 ... ed_us_1.html#incart_river

Posted on: 2013/2/2 6:22
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Re: Emails show FBI investigating Sen. Bob Menendez for sleeping with underage Dominican prostitutes
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THIS GUYS NEVER DID ANYTHING FOR THIS STATE! HE CONVINCES THE POOR, NEEDY AND UNEDUCATED TO VOTE FOR HIM AND 20 YEARS LATER THEY ARE STILL POOR AND NEEDY AND NOW THEIR CHILDREN ARE UNEDUCATED. ITS A VICIOUS CYCLE THAT WILL NEVER END WITH SCUM LIKE MENENDEZ IN OFFICE.

HIS CAMPAIGN SIGNS STILL LITTER THE CITY 6 MONTHS AFTER AN ELECTION.

ITS TIME T BURY THIS RAT AND MOVE ONWARD AND UPWARD!


Posted on: 2013/2/1 13:41
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Re: Emails show FBI investigating Sen. Bob Menendez for sleeping with underage Dominican prostitutes
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This is a state where a former governor can steel millions in depositor's cash and not even face a grand jury. Menendez, given his power broker status, will not face any legal ramifications. Even if they have him filmed with a 13 year old, he won't be touched.

Posted on: 2013/2/1 13:00
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Re: Emails show FBI investigating Sen. Bob Menendez for sleeping with underage Dominican prostitutes
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Some people are missing point. Outside the connecfion to another democrat 1%er tax dead beat who got out of one $6million lien and now owes another $11million (see J Corrizine, W Buffet, Mark Rich, C Rangell) It is illegal for American citizens to go overseas for the purpose of having sex with children no matter if prostitution is legal or not (see L Taylor) of course Congress people seem to think they are above the laws they impose on US citizens. The media coverup is because Sen BM is a major sponsor with McCain to make illegals legal and nobody want upset that agenda with a child sex abuse scandal.

Posted on: 2013/2/1 10:45
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Posted on: 2013/2/1 4:56
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Prostitution is legal in the DR. Menendez is not married.

Posted on: 2013/2/1 4:44
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So right about that..... have some PR friends that some times say things about DR people that put me off.... issue is.they do not see it as a problem.... common fact of life.

Posted on: 2013/2/1 4:38
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Quote:

borisp wrote:

What to believe? Senator Kennedy DID kill a woman in a drunk driving accident. Senator Kerry DID slander our troops based on the fake testimony of the people who never served in Vietnam. Senator Warren DID claim that she has native American roots.

It is all a matter of public record.


Even conceding that your view of the facts is accurate, some people don't believe mistakes made decades ago are significant today, especially when viewed in the context of an entire career.

Posted on: 2013/2/1 4:27
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Cool video, bro.

Where does this have anything to demonstrating that the allegations against the Senator have any basis in reality?

Posted on: 2013/2/1 1:52
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Posted on: 2013/2/1 1:25
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Re: Emails show FBI investigating Sen. Bob Menendez for sleeping with underage Dominican prostitutes
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Quote:

Bogart wrote:
Quote:

borisp wrote:


Yeah, I mean if Massachusetts can elect someone who drowned a girl in a drunk-driving accident and ran away from the scene while she was slowly suffocating, and someone who launched his political career by libeling his comrades-in-arms using forged evidence, and someone who advanced her academic career by pretending to be a minority...

I mean, if Massachusetts can do that, sure thing, New Jersey will easily vote for someone who flies to Dominican for sexual trysts on a private plane of some "donor"!!!

Let's show them!


What this does show is that the voters either did not believe the Republican allegations or did not think the issue was relevant to public service.


What to believe? Senator Kennedy DID kill a woman in a drunk driving accident. Senator Kerry DID slander our troops based on the fake testimony of the people who never served in Vietnam. Senator Warren DID claim that she has native American roots.

It is all a matter of public record.

But I may agree with the second statement, - being a US Senator seems like a job that doesn't require any decency, honesty, and sobriety. And it doesn't mean you need to actually follow the laws made for the other people.


P.S. And now we learned that Senator Menendez DID accept the trips on the private plane of his donor.

Posted on: 2013/1/31 3:01
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Hey, and I didn't have to mention that the alleged prostitutes were Dominican while Menendez is of Cuban descent. You know, two ethnic groups with such a historically warm embrace of each others' culture.

Posted on: 2013/1/31 2:53
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Well said, ianmac47.

Posted on: 2013/1/31 0:22
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The FBI has launched a financial investigation. That is all at this point, everything else is bordering on slander at this point.

There is at this point absolutely no evidence that Menendez banged prostitutes at all, let alone underage prostitutes.

A politically conservative website hurled the accusation at a Democratic Senator up for re-election and a Democratic campaign contributor -- $350,000+ in contributions -- during an election year. Again, totally unsubstantiated rumors during an election year.

The Miami Herald reported this raunchy detail alongside the FBI's investigation into a financial issue because they are in the business of selling copies of their paper. A financial investigation does not actually substantiate claims of underage prostitutes but does misdirect everyone. Moreover, the Herald doesn't bother providing any evidence suggesting this unproven allegations are true, but merely cites the conservative Daily Caller website. NJ.com doesn't even mention them, but cites the Herald. And this, ladies and gentleman, is how you turn an internet rumor into a publicly accepted fact.

Of course if you proceed to page 2 of the Miami Herald story, you'll see why all this is coming back to allegations of hookers:

"Menendez had just stepped into the national spotlight along with Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and six other senators who are hammering out a highly watched immigration plan that is the talk of Washington.

Rubio is one of the few big-name Florida politicians who has not received campaign money from the Melgens, who have contributed to Sen. Bill Nelson and Reps. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Joe Garcia, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Mario Diaz-Balart, among others."

Meanwhile, The Daily Caller has said Rubio "clearly passed the threshold of experience needed to be president." The same Daily Caller 'journalist' says "I couldn't help thinking that four years from now, it'll probably be President-elect Marco Rubio's turn."

http://dailycaller.com/2012/11/15/why-rubio-is-a-frontrunner/
http://theweek.com/bullpen/column/239 ... ing-president-marco-rubio

So lets review:

A conservative blog writes a story about a huge Democratic contributor and a liberal Democratic senator (who is at the time up for re-election) during an election year. The scandal disappears after the election and suddenly resurfaces as a rumor attached to an unrelated financial investigation while a high profile Republican Senator Rubio and liberal Menedez are dealing a high profile immigration issue. The only source of this scandal is a hack who basically gives Rubio a PR handjob saying only he has "the vision, charisma, brains, and communications skills" to be president.

But no, nothing here sounds fishy at all....

Posted on: 2013/1/30 23:43
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