Entries in Bob Menendez (4)


Sen. Menendez Prostitution 'Scandal': How It Happened

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- New Jersey Democratic Sen. Robert Menendez is demanding an investigation into the political operatives who may have been behind an elaborate plot to embroil him in an international sex scandal.

"I have no idea who is behind these efforts, but I hope that the press will pursue them as vigorously to find out who was behind these efforts as they did in the first place," Menendez said on Tuesday.  "All I know is obviously there must be interests were trying to defeat me in my election and who obviously did not want to see me in my role as Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee."

It all started last year as Menendez campaigned for re-election.  Six days before the votes were cast, GOP operatives helped to arrange Skype interviews in the Dominican Republic with three women who all told ABC News the senator paid them for sex.  Two of the women repeated the claims to a conservative news website, the Daily Caller.

Their interactions with Menendez supposedly took place at the famed Dominican resort Casa de Campo and at the home there of one of the senator's campaign donors, where the GOP operatives claimed in reports that surveillance teams learned of raucous pool parties where "everyone [was] naked, of course."

But during the ABC News interviews, none of the women could produce identity cards with their names, and they all provided the same story almost word for word, as if they had been coached.

They were, according to a sworn affidavit filed in court this week by one of the three women, who says it was all a set up.

In the affidavit, she said that she and the others were paid to use fake names and make up a story about sex with the senator.  A Dominican official familiar with the case confirmed that the woman in the affidavit, identified as Nexis de los Santos Santana, was the same woman who wore a yellow blouse when interviewed by ABC News.

In her interview with ABC News before the election, she said her name was Michelle Rodriguez and that she had come forward because Menendez had paid her only $100 of the $500 she had expected.  She now says she was coached to make the claim.

"I think it's a pretty elaborate plot to take down a sitting senator," said Melanie Sloan, executive director of the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington.  "I have no idea who would be behind this and who would go to such great lengths... who would fund this because it wasn't cheap."

ABC News did not report the allegations last year, but the Daily Caller ran a story and continues to stand by it.

While the allegations about the prostitutes may have been discredited, the senator still faces an ethics inquiry into his relationship with that donor who provided Menendez with private plane flights and for whom Menendez allegedly intervened to help obtain contracts.

Menendez has already been forced to amend his financial disclosure statement to account for the flights and reimburse the donor for $58,000.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Senate Immigration Proposal to Include Pathway to Citizenship

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Two senators at the center of negotiations over comprehensive immigration reform, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., said on Sunday that a pathway to citizenship is an essential component of a comprehensive reform bill.

“That has to be also part of it,” McCain told ABC News’ Martha Raddatz on “This Week” when asked whether a pathway to citizenship would be a component of reform. “There’s a new appreciation on both sides of the aisle including, maybe more importantly on the Republican side of the aisle, that we have to enact comprehensive immigration reform.”

McCain said that a small group of Senators will release the principles of a comprehensive, not “piecemeal,” reform bill this week.

“I’m very pleased with the progress,” McCain said. “It’s not that much different from what we tried to do in 2007.”

Menendez, who met with President Obama on Friday along with other members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus leadership, said that the president expressed his full commitment to reform.

“The president made it very clear in that discussion that this was a top legislative priority for him in this session of the Congress and that he expects to work with all of us in an effort to achieve that goal and he’s fully committed to it.”

He added that a pathway to “earned legalization” is an “essential element” of an immigration reform bill.

“First, Americans support it in poll after poll. Secondly, Latino voters expect it. Thirdly, Democrats want it. And fourth, Republicans need it,” Menendez said.

McCain added that he believes Obama’s use of the presidential podium on behalf of immigration reform at an event in Las Vegas planned for Tuesday will aid efforts to pass a bill.

“I think it helps,” McCain said. “I think it’s important that we all work together on this.”

“Believe it or not, I see a glimmer of bipartisanship out there,” he added.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


'Shameless!': Senate Rejects 9/11 Health Bill

Photo Courtesy - Reid[dot]Senate[dot]gov(WASHINGTON) -- Senate Republicans Thursday rejected a bill to provide up to $7.4 billion in health care benefits and compensation to sick first responders of the 9/11 attacks.

The final vote tally of 57-42 was strictly along party lines, excluding Majority Leader Harry Reid changing his vote to no in order to reconsider the bill at a later date.

The GOP’s decision to block the bill infuriated Senate Democrats, who in the hours leading up to the vote had pleaded for Republicans to get on board.

“This vote is about being an American, because from the days at Bunker Hill, when the patriots put down their plows and took up their muskets to defend and create our freedom, we always tried to take care of them. We have done it again and again for our veterans, and the heroes of 9/11 are no different,” Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-NY, said on the Senate floor Thursday morning.

However, Senate Republicans earlier this month vowed not to vote for any measures until the Senate had resolved the issues of the Bush tax cuts and government funding. Democrats today said that was no excuse for voting against the 9/11 bill.

“I cannot accept as a moral equivalent that some oath not to vote on those who served the country and risked their lives cannot take place because of some vote on some tax issue,” railed Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J. “No one in the nation would believe that it is okay to say, ‘Well, I will not vote to give relief to the health of those individuals who sacrificed their health on September 11th and the days after because I have to wait for some pending tax vote.’”

“Go back to the men and women who served this country and look at them in their eyes and tell them that it is some vote that I’m waiting for on taxes that determines whether or not your health will be responded to,” he fumed. “Shameless!” ´╗┐

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Top Democrat on Midterms: 'This Is Not 1994'

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Facing an election wave that is likely to sweep Democrats out of power in the House of Representatives - and possibly even in the Senate - Sen. Bob Menendez of New Jersey insisted, "This is not 1994."

In an exclusive interview with ABC’s This Week with Christiane Amanpour, Menendez, the chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, was asked if the 2010 midterms would be reminiscent of the 1994 election when Democrats lost eight seats in the Senate and 52 in the House.

No, Menendez said, explaining, "The Republican brand, its image was much better than it is today. In every poll, Democrats, as a brand, fare much better. Secondly, in 1994, it was a surge at the end.”

"We understand that people are hurting in this country," Menendez said. "But our goal is to have them understand and channel their anger on Election Day against the Republican Party that brought us to the verge of economic collapse."

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio´╗┐

ABC News Radio