HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » Forums & Groups » Main » Editorials & Other Articles (Forum) » Sen. Menendez Downfall Co...

Wed Apr 1, 2015, 09:55 PM

Sen. Menendez Downfall Could Be Diplomacy’s Windfall

April 01, 2015

Playing Loose with Issues of War and Peace

Sen. Menendez Downfall Could Be Diplomacy’s Windfall

by MEDEA BENJAMIN and KATIE POWERS


Senator Robert Menendez, a powerful democrat from New Jersey, has been down on his luck lately. He is currently under federal investigation for corruption, and although the Senator has denied all allegations, charges are expected to be filed against him any day now.

This is not the first time the senator has been investigated. In fact, his wikipedia page even considers the ‘Controversies’ section too long to read and in need of subsections. Recently, the senator has been accused of using his government position to aid his long-time friend and donor, Dr. Soloman Melgen.

In 2008, when Dr. Melgen got into a dispute for overbilling Medicare, Sen. Menendez used his position on the Finance Committee to push for reforms of the Medicare multidosing policy – a change that would have resulted in millions of dollars more for Melgen’s practice. Menendez also used his power to persuade the Department of Homeland Security not to provide cargo screening equipment to the Dominican Republic since it would hurt the profits from Melgen’s private company, which provides similar equipment.

In both the Medicare and Homeland Security cases, any damage to the financials of Dr. Melgen would probably have damaged the financials of Senator Menendez. In 2012 alone, Dr. Melgen received $21 million dollars in reimbursements from Medicare. In turn, he contributed generously to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DMCC), including contributions upward of $1 million dollars to campaigns and committees Menendez served on. Dr. Melgen has been very generous over the years in the gifts he has given Menendez. “Sen. Menendez’s relationship with Dr. Melgen is transactional: campaign cash and lavish gifts for the senator, official favors and influence for the businessman,” according to Citizens for Ethics and Responsibilities in Washington (CREW). Since the investigations have begun, Menendez has tried to clean up his act by documenting the private gifts and favors given to him by Dr. Melgen, including repaying him $60,000 for several flights he took on Melgen’s private plane.

Menendez’s indictment would be unfortunate for his family, his career, and his reputation, but it could bode well for world peace. While Menendez is progressive on issues such as immigration reform and gay rights, he is a hawk on two key foreign policy issues: Iran and Cuba. As ranking member of the Foreign Relations Committee, his conservative influence is throwing a wrench in the Administration’s negotiations with both nations. Bucking the positions of President Obama and most of his Democratic colleagues in Congress, Menendez has become “politically valuable” to the Republican party. In fact, more Republicans are outwardly criticizing the Justice Department for its investigation of Menendez than his own Democratic colleagues.

More:
http://www.counterpunch.org/2015/04/01/sen-menendez-downfall-could-be-diplomacys-windfall/

0 replies, 736 views

Reply to this thread

Back to top Alert abuse

Reply to this thread