Under scrutiny is Menendez’s relationship with Salomon Melgen, a wealthy West Palm Beach eye doctor and Democratic contributor. Recent reports have suggested Menendez was providing political favors for Mr. Melgen in exchange for campaign support.
• Suspicion was first cast on Menendez after reports surfaced that the senator took two free round-trip flights aboard Melgen’s private jet for personal vacations at a luxury resort in the Dominican Republic in 2010. After news of the trips became widely known, Menendez acknowledged that he failed to report the trips – per Senate rules – and reimbursed Melgan $58,500 for the lift – almost three years later. (Some news organizations, including the conservative Daily Caller, have made allegations – all unconfirmed – that the senator hired prostitutes during those trips. Menendez has vehemently denied those allegations.)
• The Washington Post reported Feb. 6 that Menendez questioned top federal health-care officials, in 2009 and 2012, about their finding that Melgen had overbilled the government $8.9 million in Medicare claims. Days later, reported New Jersey’s Star-Ledger, Melgen donated $30,000 to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, which Menendez then chaired. (FBI agents and Medicare Fraud units have since raided Melgen’s eye clinic in Florida.)