New Jersey Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez’s Democratic Party mega-donor Dr. Salomon Melgen cozied up to President Barack Obama, Politico reports.
“He posed for pictures with President Barack Obama, flew Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid on his private jet and sought advice on a port security deal from an ex-CIA agent who helped lead the hunt for Osama bin Laden, POLITICO has learned,” Ken Vogel and Tarini Parti wrote for the website Tuesday evening. “Melgen, a wealthy South Florida eye doctor and investor, has seen his flashy forays onto the political stage backfire in spectacular fashion in the past few months. Federal investigators are probing his business dealings. He’s at the center of the controversy over Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) and prostitutes in the Dominican Republic. And now, new details show that Melgen also courted other leading politicians, including two of the top Democrats in Washington.”
At a 2010 fundraiser the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee hosted, Politico notes Melgen “schmoozed” Obama. “The president posed with his arm around Melgen in a photo” that Politico published, the writers note.
Seema Sharma, who hosted the fundraiser at her D.C. area family home, said Melgen was a member of the “host committee,” so he got extra time with the president. “Everybody gets a photo-op, but the host committee just gets a few extra minutes to meet with the president,” Sharma said.
Melgen also attempted to cozy up to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. Federal Election Commission records show Reid, through his Super PAC Majority PAC, reimbursed Melgen’s company $4,160 for “travel” last summer. The flight went from Washington, D.C., to Boston, Reid’s office told Politico.
“Sen. Reid took a flight that was in full compliance with FEC rules and fully paid for,” said his spokesman Adam Jentleson.
Breitbart News had first asked Reid’s office about that “travel” reimbursement back on February 27, but had not published a report on the matter because Reid’s office did not respond to a request for comment and details about the trip were scant. It was unclear at that time if Reid himself took the trip or if someone else who worked for his PAC did.