Andy McCarthy: Justice Dep’t Should Examine Harry Reid’s Role in Menendez Scandal

The Associated Press

At PJMedia, former federal prosecutor Andrew McCarthy writes:

“The Obama Justice Department has filed its much anticipated corruption indictment against Senator Robert Menendez. He is the New Jersey Democrat who, from his powerful senior seat on the Senate’s Foreign Relations Committee, has vehemently opposed President Obama’s negotiations with the jihadist regime in Iran, as well as his outreach to Castro’s Cuba.

“So now that Menendez and his heavyweight donor, Florida opthalmologist Salomon Melgen, have been indicted on 22 corruption counts (comprised of conspiracy, bribery, fraud and false statements charges), it is worth asking: Is Menendez being unfairly singled out for prosecution on conduct in the nature of “everybody does it”? In considering this question, it is worth focusing on that paragon of Beltway rectitude, Harry Reid, who makes an intriguing cameo appearance in the Menendez indictment.

“[T]he case against Menendez centers on three instances of something very familiar: an elected representative intervening with government agencies on behalf of a donor. To wit, the senator is accused of: (1) browbeating executive agencies to back Melgen in a conflict with the Dominican Republic over a contract to provide screening of containers coming through Dominican ports; (2) supporting visa applications for Melgen’s girlfriends; and (3) pressuring the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to resolve favorably to Melgen an $8.9 million Medicare billing dispute.

“According to the indictment, a frustrated Menendez turned for help to his friend and fellow Democrat, then-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada, in March of 2012. Using aides as intermediaries, Menendez kept Reid apprised of his futile pleas to and dissatisfaction with lower rungs of the HHS bureaucracy. Then, in July 2012, Reid personally interceded to arrange a meeting for Menendez with HHS’s then-Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. The indictment (at p. 49) explains that the meeting took place on August 2, 2012, and that Sebelius rebuffed Menendez.

“Call me cynical, but it seems that while justice is blind, the Justice Department is anything but – it’s quite discriminating. For example, the indictment against Obama’s bête noir, Menendez, for corruptly pressuring HHS somehow manages to omit the teeny weeny detail that Reid, a key Obama ally, not only arranged the meeting with Sebelius but attended it – or, some might say, used his influence to pressure HHS.”

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