While President Trump’s Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price resigned today over his use of private flights, Democrat Senator Bob Menendez of New Jersey, who is currently on trial for bribery, refuses to do the same.
Menendez took a whopping 16 flights aboard his friend Salomon Melgen’s private jets between 2008 and 2010, according to testimony from Melgen’s pilot, Robert Nylund, in Newark federal court this month. Melgen, a Florida ophthalmologist recently convicted on 67 felony charges of Medicare fraud, is alleged to have bribed Menendez with these flights, stays at a Carribean resort, and some $750,000 in campaign donations. Nylund testified that Menendez was such a frequent flyer on Melgen’s Hawker Siddeley and CL-600 Challenger that he had both of his planes stocked with the New Jersey Senator’s favorite bottled water.
At first, the disgraced Democrat tried to conceal these private flights and did not report them as gifts. In January 2013, Menendez admitted to taking three previously unreported flights on Melgen’s private jets, which he argued was nothing more than an innocent filing error. The Department of Justice disagreed, and subsequently indicted Menendez on one count of making false statements and another count of violating the Travel Act relating to his jet usage, in addition to eight counts of bribery, three counts of honest services fraud, and one count of conspiracy.
In return, Menendez allegedly used his position as Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to kill an investigation into Melgen’s illegal Medicare billing practices, obtain visas for Melgen’s girlfriends, and pressure the Dominican Republic into resolving a contract dispute involving Melgen’s cargo-screening company. Melgen financed his pay-for-play scheme with the Menendez through a Medicare fraud scheme, which allowed to him to steal approximately $105 million from American taxpayers through fraudulent billing practices.
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The Department of Justice had been investigating Menendez’s ties to Melgen for years prior to his 2015 indictment, focusing on his numerous visits to the Dominican Republic. In 2012, GotNews Editor-in-Chief Charles C. Johnson and Breitbart’s Matt Boyle broke the story that two women in the Dominican Republic identified Menendez as the man who paid them for sex.
At the time, both Menendez and his buddies in the media tried unsuccessfully to smear this valuable bit of investigative journalism as part of a Cuban plot. The FBI has since confirmed that everything Johnson and Boyle reported about the case is correct.
Stay tuned for more.
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