County GOP group asks for Menendez probe

Nov. 12, 2012 at 5:17 PM
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WASHINGTON, Nov. 12 (UPI) -- Middlesex County, N.J., Republicans filed an ethics complaint against U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez less than a week after the Garden State Democrat won re-election.

In their complaint, the county GOP organization accused Menendez of violating Senate rules by not seeking permission or disclosing travel and lodging provided by a campaign donor, the Washington Free Beacon reported Monday.

The organization asked the Senate Ethics Committee to begin an investigation into Menendez based on public records and media reports indicating he failed to disclose and seek permission for several flights to Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic between 2010 and 2012, reported the Beacon, a conservative online news website.

Public records indicate Menendez flew at least four times to the countries on a corporate jet owned by Salomon Melgen, a Florida ophthalmologist and Democratic contributor since 1993. Melgen donated at least $12,600 to Menendez during that period.

"It does not appear that Senator Menendez's apparent acceptance of private jet travel and luxury lodging was permitted by Senate gift rules," the 57-page letter said. "Nor does it appear that Senator Menendez disclosed acceptance of this travel and lodging on his financial disclosure form -- as he would be required to do even if the gifts were otherwise permissible."

Melgen also owns Casa de Campo, a luxury resort in the Dominican Republic. Just before the election, another conservative publication reported it interviewed two prostitutes who alleged they met Menendez at the resort and that he paid them for sex earlier this year, Politico said.

Menendez has denied the allegations, which have not been independently substantiated, Politico said.

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