It would be much easier to embrace this story as hard news if it wasn’t coming from the political agenda of The Daily Caller. Yet as I wrote earlier this week, Menendez hasn’t done much to deflect the charges that he hired underaged prostitutes while accepting free flights to and lodging in the Dominican Republic. It’s important to remember that it was the National Enquirer that broke the John Edwards’ mistress story so even the junkiest news sources get it right sometimes.
The FBI is investigating now, and that is newsworthy. There is a lot of apprehension and concern that Menendez could be innocent of these allegations but become politically tarnished. Menendez should be addressing this issue as openly and forcefully as possible to prevent that. Instead, his office announced that they are refunding Dr. Salomen Melgen $58,000 for two flights Menendez took to the Dominican Republic. Presumably, this also includes accomodations there as well. The kicker in this story is that the reimbursements are two years late. Menendez’ office called them an “oversight.”
This just adds to the list of questions. If Menendez had intended to repay Melgen, he wouldn’t have waited for the story to break open and generate an FBI investigation. He also would have realized by the time of the second flight that he had not paid for the first one. Besides, why pay for a private jet to the Dominican Republic at 29K a seat when commercial airfare is a fraction of that?
Perhaps Menendez has done nothing wrong, but his actions keep nurturing suspicions.
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Update: This story includes a couple of timeline changes from its initial publication.