Recent disclosures indicate New Jersey Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) paid a law firm $250,000 in legal costs related to both DOJ and Senate Ethics Committee probes involving his connection to Florida eye doctor Salomon Melgen, a major Menendez donor.
Menendez also reimbursed Melgen $11,250 for a 2011 flight on Melgen’s private plane. That’s in addition to approximately $60,000 Menedez has already reimbursed Melgen for previously un-reported flights.
The NJ Democrat also set up a trust to raise money for additional expenses as the investigations into his ties to Melgen goes forward.
The issue exploded in late January 2013, after the FBI conducted a search of Melgen’s West Palm Beach offices.
Friday’s disclosures show that Menendez’s ties to Melgen continue to dog him.
Melgen and Menendez have long, deep ties. Menendez has previously acknowledged actions he or his office took that appeared to have benefited Melgen, but Menendez has insisted he has done nothing unethical.
Melgen donated big to Menendez during his 2012 re-election bid.
Melgen’s practice gave $700,000 to Majority PAC, a super political action committee set up to fund Democratic candidates for the Senate. Aided by Melgen’s donation, the super PAC became the largest outside political committee contributing to Menendez’s re-election, spending more than $582,000 on the senator’s behalf.