This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Friday, February 2, 2018:
This writer was surprised, as many were, to learn that on Wednesday the DOJ successfully sought to dismiss its charges against Menendez, meaning that Lady Justice will have to wait a little longer to avenge his decades-long history of political corruption.
His corruption goes back decades, and is so extensive that corruption-aggregator DiscoverTheNetworks.org (DTN) has six densely-written pages on it. He’s been in New Jersey politics since he was 20 years old and has turned graft and corruption into an art form. Just two examples from DTN suffice:
In 2010 the Wall Street Journal reported that Menendez had written to Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke, asking him to approve the Crown Bank of Brick’s acquisition of the failing New Jersey-based First Bank Americano (FBA), whose chairman and vice chairman were both major Menendez donors. (That acquisition, had it been approved, would have prevented the two executives from losing whatever was left of their investments in the bank.) All told, 8 of FBA’s 15 directors had given money to Menendez or his political action committee. Former federal bank regulator William Black, a Democrat, called Menendez’s letter “grotesquely inappropriate” insofar as it directly asked regulators to approve an application, rather than to simply place it under consideration. A scathing FDIC report indicated that FBA had engaged in numerous unsafe or unsound banking practices over the years, and the acquisition ultimately was disallowed.
In December 2012 it was reported that one of the interns working in Senator Menendez’s office was an 18-year-old immigrant from Peru who was living in the U.S. illegally and was a registered sex offender. The Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency first became aware of the man in October 2012, but the Department of Homeland Security instructed federal agents not to arrest him until after the November elections; Menendez, whose six-year Senate term was drawing to a close, was among those on the ballot. When news of the intern’s background finally broke five weeks after Election Day, Menendez denied having known anything about the directive to delay the young man’s arrest.
This writer wasn’t the only one caught by surprise at the DOJ’s request for dismissal of all charges against Menendez. Robert Mintz, a former federal prosecutor from New Jersey, wrote:
This case has been on a long, winding road, and this is a surprising end. It’s certainly a major setback for the Department of Justice, given the high-profile nature of this case.
There are many reasons why the DOJ has backed down, including the enormous expenditure of time, effort, and taxpayer money during the first trial that failed to convict him. The prosecution took eight long weeks and put 50 witnesses on the stand, and still it was unable to build a solid link between gifts to Menendez from his “good friend” Salomon Melgen, an eye doctor from Miami, and certain “official” acts by Menendez that benefitted Melgen.
That Melgen is himself corrupt is evident by his conviction of 67 counts of Medicare fraud and his imminent sentencing (up to 30 years) for them.
But perhaps the real reason – the one that appears to be most persuasive in this case – is the Supreme Court’s decision in 2016 to throw out a conviction in a similar corruption case brought against former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell. McDonnell was found guilty of violating the law when he received gifts, money, and loans from Jonnie Williams, the CEO of a Virginia-based company, in exchange for official acts by McDonnell which the jury saw as favorable to Williams.
Upon appeal, the Supreme Court was unanimous in throwing out McDonnell’s conviction and Chief Justice John Roberts explained why. Those “official acts” that McDonnell performed weren’t adequately tied directly to gifts from Williams:
In sum, an “official act” is a decision or action on a ‘question, matter, cause, suit, proceeding, or controversy.’ Setting up a meeting, talking to another official, or organizing an event (or agreeing to do so) … does not fit that definition of an official act.
This was the prosecution’s weakness in last fall’s trial of Menendez. It failed to prove conclusively to the jury that certain “official acts” by the senator were tied directly to various gifts that Melgen provided in return. There were trips to the Dominican Republic provided by Melgen to Menendez on his private jet, which Menendez failed to report properly. There was political pressure and influence that Menendez brought to bear that indirectly benefitted Melgen. The 68-page indictment against Menendez looked persuasive, alleging that Menendez had attempted, on Melgen’s behalf, to influence a State Department official in a dispute involving one of Melgen’s business interests in the Dominican Republic; that Menendez tried to help Melgen “resolve” a dispute the doctor was having with Medicare over billing fraud; and that Menendez had ordered his staff to secure visas for several of Melgen’s prostitutes. Michelle Malkin wrote pointedly about that third charge:
This is not in dispute: Menendez and his staff pressured the State Department to expedite the foreign tourist and student visa approval processes for a bevy of buxom foreign beauties. One of them, Brazilian actress and porn pinup star Juliana Lopes Leite (aka “Girlfriend 1”), had her F-1 student visa application moved to the top of the pile in 2008 after Menendez and his staff intervened as a favor to … Melgen.
Another, Rosiell Polanco-Suera, testified that her rejected visa application (along with her sister’s) received reconsideration and instant approval after Melgen promised to ‘fix it’ by reaching out to Menendez.
There is one remaining obstacle for Menendez to overcome on his way to being successfully reelected as New Jersey’s senior senator in November: a Senate ethics inquiry into his shady behaviors was put on hold when the DOJ began its own investigation back in 2013. Now that the DOJ is out of the picture, that ethics investigation is due to pick up where it left off.
Apparently, his supporters from New Jersey don’t really care, either about his long history of graft and corruption, or about his abominable voting record (his Freedom Index rating from the John Birch Society is a treasonous 17 out of 100). Since the first trial ended with a hung jury back in November, Menendez’s people have poured more than $6 million into his reelection campaign, leaving Republican hopefuls far behind.
It is said that “justice may be slow, but it is sweet.” It appears that Lady Justice is going to have to wait a little longer, along with the rest of us, to see that justice for the senior senator from New Jersey is done.
McAlvanyIntelligenceAdvisor.com: Corrupt New Jersey Democrat Senator Menendez: Justice Could Be Served Even if He’s Found Innocent
The Wall Street Journal: U.S. to Drop Graft Charges Against Sen. Bob Menendez
The Wall Street Journal: U.S. Drops Graft Case Against Senator Menendez
DiscoverTheNetworks.org: Deeper more detailed background on Bob Menendez
The Washington Post: Judge dismisses all charges against Sen. Menendez following request from prosecutors