New Jersey Senator Bob Menendez (D) is currently facing felony corruption charges for allegedly taking bribes in exchange for political favors. As if this weren’t bad enough, his predicament got a whole lot worse this week, when a sexy Dominican girl took the stand in court and revealed his dirty secret.
According to The Washington Post, a Dominican woman testified on Tuesday that Menendez helped her with her US visa application after her ex-boyfriend, who is also on trial, asked the Democratic senator to intervene. Rosiell Polanco-Suera told the court that her visa application was initially denied in 2008, but after her wealthy ex-boyfriend, Dr. Salomon Melgen, asked Menendez to intervene, her application was greenlighted.
The visa applications of Polanco-Suera and her sister were ultimately granted after a second interview in the Dominican Republic. In between the two events, Menendez emailed one of his staffers and told him to call the ambassador about the matter “ASAP.” That staffer testified on Monday.
Using a translator for her testimony, Polanco-Suera said she and her sister waited for hours for the first interview in November of 2008, only to be dismissed by an interviewer who didn’t look at documents that they had brought with them, which included a letter from Menendez. The second time around, she said that they had little or no wait and were approved the same day. Polanco-Suera said her ex-boyfriend, a wealthy eye doctor, had “fixed” the problem after apparently giving Menedez loads of cash and gifts.
Prosecutors say Melgen allegedly bribed Menendez for years with luxury vacations and gifts in exchange for political influence and favors. On Monday, one of Menendez’s former staffers told the court one of those favors was lobbying the State Department to get Polanco-Suera and her sister visas to enter the United States. Both Menendez and Melgen stand trial together as defendants and face 18 counts of bribery and fraud, but they say they’re innocent.
Menendez is also accused of lobbying the government on behalf of the wealthy eye doctor over a $8.9 million billing dispute. In 2011, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) found that Melgen was over-charging them for an eye drug, then Menendez allegedly intervened on his deep-pocketed benefactor’s behalf. [Source: The Federalist]
According to Politico, many Democrats, including Hillary Clinton, have accepted a combined $3.4 million in campaign contributions from Melgen and Menendez’s New Millennium leadership PAC. These Democrats include powerful Senators Elizabeth Warren, Tim Kaine, and Kirsten Gillibrand, among others. A watchdog organization has called on all the Democratic senators who received cash from the shady PAC to return the dough, The Washington Free Beacon reported.
If Menendez’s seat in the Senate is vacated due to this scandal, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie could choose his replacement, which would affect politics in the state to a large degree, as Christie would undoubtedly pick a Republican. It is time for Menendez to relinquish his Senate seat. He has brought enough shame to Washington politics as it is.