“If what we know right now is all there is, I don’t think this is career ending," says Brigid Harrison, a political science professor at Montclair State University in Montclair, N.J., noting that Menedez was just reelected in November. "He has five years and ten months before re-election. That’s a really long time to rehabilitate your image.”
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.)