Written by Opinion Wednesday, February 06, 2013 01:00 am
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To the editor:
Sen. Robert Menendez was reported to have taken three trips to the Dominican Republic in 2010, with the third taking place in May.
These trips were provided by Dr. Salomon Melgen of Palm Beach, Fla. It is important to note that Dr. Melgen is a major contributor to the Democratic Party and also to Sen. Menendez. It is also important to note that in accordance with U.S. Senate rules, contributions such as plane trips and paid vacations must be reported to the Federal Election Commission.
Now here is where it gets sticky. Only the third trip was reported to the Election Commission by Sen. Menendez, and he reported it as a $5,400 expenditure by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. The first two trips were not reported at all in 2010, nor were they in 2011. As it turns out, the first two trips were not reported at all, ever.
The issue of plane trips and paid vacations by the senator was exposed late in 2012, and now Sen. Menendez says he reimbursed Dr. Melgen $58,500 for the first two tips on Jan. 4, 2013. I hope it’s not only me that sees the multiple problems with his story.
Why was the third trip valued at only $5,400, while the first two were valued at $29,250 each? Why is it acceptable for Sen. Menendez to violate Senate rules by not reporting the trips in the year they were taken? Why is it acceptable to state that no reporting requirements apply from the first two trips simply because he paid for them out of his personal account in 2013 – more than two years after the trips were taken and only after the issue was brought to light?
Integrity is defined as “adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character; honesty.” Integrity is lacking in many of our politicians, and it is certainly lacking in Sen. Menendez. Shame on you, sir! And shame on the Senate for not censuring Sen. Menendez for his blatant disregard for Senate rules. New Jersey voters should remember this story when they go to the polls.
Frank X. Cavallaro