Bob Menendez Steered Millions To Group That Paid Him
A Democratic Duke Cunningham - Or Just Business As Usual?
By Dan McLaughlin Posted in 2006 — Comments (9) / Email this page » / Leave a comment »
Yes, I know: corruption investigations into New Jersey Democrats are a dog-bites-man story. But New Jersey voters have to ask themselves how many times they are willing to throw the bums back in. WNBC reports that federal investigators are probing whether there was a quid pro quo in Menendez receiving $3,000 a month from an organization as he was helping them receive millions of taxpayer dollars - your dollars:
The U.S. attorney's office has subpoenaed the [nonprofit] agency's records pertaining to a house once owned by then-congressman Menendez, sources told NewsChannel 4's Brian Thompson.
Menendez, a Democrat, has denied there was anything wrong with his renting the house to the North Hudson Community Action Corp. for more than $3,000 a month, even as he was working to obtain millions of dollars in federal grant money while he was a congressman.
Now, I don't know; $3,000 a month may be a fair market rent for the property, in which case this isn't outright corruption, just a too-cozy relationship between a Congressman and a major recipient of federal largesse. That's Menendez' defense:
Menendez campaign spokesman Matthew Miller released a statement saying the senator's dealings with the agency had already been approved by authorities in U.S. Congress.
"This transaction was already approved by the House Ethics Committee, and the U.S. attorney will find that Bob Menendez did nothing but support a well-respected agency in the exact same manner that he has supported other non-profits in the state," the statement said.
"We're troubled by the timing of this subpoena in the middle of a political campaign, but the facts are that the NHCAC has received federal funds for over 35 years because they provide education and health care services to New Jerseyans who need it the most."
On the other hand, above-market payments for real property is a convenient way to launder a bribe - you will recall that was where the Duke Cunningham investigation started.
Will the Democrats pull a Torricelli and end up having to drag some geriatric retiree out of mothballs if Menendez implodes under the weight of this story? Stay tuned.