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He continues living in a dream.
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WASHINGTON — Sen. Robert Menendez is being investigated by a Miami federal grand jury for his role in advocating for the business interests of a wealthy donor and friend, The Washington Post reported Thursday.
A story on the newspaper's website said that as part of the probe
federal agents have questioned witnesses about the interactions between
Menendez, D-N.J., and Florida ophthalmologist Salomon Melgen. The
newspaper said the grand jury also issued subpoenas for Melgen's
business and financial records. The newspaper cited unidentified people
it said were familiar with the probe.
Federal agents have not contacted Menendez, one person told the newspaper.
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The Post said Melgen declined to say Thursday whether he knew anything
about the investigation, but he said any probe would find no wrongdoing.
Melgen attorney Kirk Ogrosky said the eye doctor is proud of his
relationship with the senator and had no worries about any federal
Menendez and Melgen's overlapping interests have repeatedly raised
questions in recent months. Menendez was compelled to reimburse $58,000
for two flights to the Dominican Republic aboard Melgen's private jet
for personal trips in 2010 that he previously had failed to report,
prompting scrutiny by the Senate Ethics Committee.
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Menendez also has acknowledged contacting U.S. health agencies to
question their billing practices and policies amid a dispute between
Melgen and federal authorities. And Menendez was a key sponsor of a
natural gas bill that could have aided a Melgen investment in a Florida
company that markets a conversion system for natural gas truck engines.
Melgen has given more than $14,000 directly to Menendez's political
campaigns since the late 1990s and, through his eye clinic, donated
$700,000 last year to a "super" political committee that supported
Democratic Senate candidates. The committee, in turn, spent $582,000 to
back Menendez's re-election effort.
The investigation began with two disparate issues, according to people
familiar with the matter who spoke with the Post. First, auditors had
been reviewing allegations that Melgen was fraudulently overbilling
Medicare for treating his patients. Melgen's attorney has said the
doctor's billing was completely appropriate.
Then, in the fall, the FBI began looking into an anonymous tipster's
allegations that Melgen had arranged prostitutes for Menendez in the
Dominican Republic. Such an arrangement could constitute providing a
favor or gift under the bribery statute that investigators have been
reviewing, the Post said.
Lawyers for Menendez and Melgen have said the allegations involving
prostitutes, which also were made by the conservative website the Daily
Caller, were absurd. Menendez has said the allegations, which first
surfaced during his re-election campaign last year, were part of a
Republican smear campaign.
Source: New York Daily News