Federal agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) raided the offices of Dr. Salomon Melgen, a prominent donor of Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ), in West Palm Beach, Florida on Tuesday.
NBC News reports that federal agents conducted a raid on Melgen’s eye clinic offices in South Florida on Tuesday and “were seen removing boxes” from the premises. Melgen’s attorney, Matthew Menchel, claims that this second raid this year was “retaliation” against Melgen for filing a lawsuit against the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
“Unfortunately, today’s actions by the FBI are yet another in a series of inappropriate, overreaching steps taken by the government in their campaign against Dr. Melgen, his medical practice and his reputation,” Menchel said.
Menendez’s relationship with Melgen has been a source of much scrutiny. He reportedly met with high-ranking HHS officials on Melgen’s behalf to allegedly ask for favors for the donor. Menendez also allegedly used his position in Congress to attempt to help Melgen secure a port security deal worth millions of dollars. Menendez also admitted that he took several trips on Melgen’s private plane that were previously unaccounted for and paid for the trips after the fact, using 87 percent of his entire personal wealth to pay for the flights.
The FBI first raided Melgen’s offices in January. Menendez is an integral figure in the Democratic Party, and his presence in the senate is essential to the survival of comprehensive immigration reform, one of President Barack Obama’s stated second-term agenda goals. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid confirmed as much when he defended Menendez before and after his donor’s offices were raided by the FBI back in January.