Corruption among Senate Democrats could go all the way to the top, according to recent revelations from the trial of Senator Robert Menendez.
Retired Senate Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) is scheduled to testify in the corruption trial of Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) according to Fox News. Sen. Menendez is accused of accepting lavish gifts and bribes from his friend Dr. Salomon Melgen, an ophthalmologist from Florida. In exchange, Sen. Menendez advocated on behalf of Dr. Melgen in a series of disputes with the government and with foreign governments.
The Department of Justice officially indicted both Sen. Menendez and Dr. Solomon on April 1, 2015. Sen. Menendez was charged with fraud, bribery, and making false statements in addition to other charges. His trial began on September 6, 2017.
According to The Washington Post, Sen. Menendez began accepting gifts from Dr. Melgen almost immediately after being elected to the Senate in 2006. Sen. Menendez was reelected in 2012, with Dr. Melgen contributing around $600,000 to his campaign and associated Super PACs.
According to the Justice Department, Sen. Menendez accepted numerous gifts from Dr. Melgen including accepting 19 free rides on Dr. Melgen’s private plane traveling to luxury resorts around the world and massive campaign donations.
In exchange, Sen. Menendez advocated on behalf of Dr. Melgen. In one incident, Menendez help three of Dr. Melgen’s foreign girlfriends obtain visas to come to the United States. In another incident, the Senator helped settle an $8.9 million dispute with Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. He also lobbied the Dominican Republic to support one of Melgen’s companies.
Now, prosecutors are calling on Harry Reid to testify on his role in the $8.9 million settlement. In 2011, Sen. Menendez recruited Reid for a meeting with Dr. Melgen discussing the dispute.
Court documents explain that Harry Reid contacted the White House deputy chief of staff on Menendez’s behalf. He said Menendez was “upset about how a Florida ophthalmologist was being treated” by Medicaid. Prosecutors claim the deputy chief of staff originally objected to the request since it was merely a “dispute between a single doctor and an administrative agency, not a policy matter.”
In another incident from June 2012, Harry Reid flew with Dr. Melgen on his private jet on a return trip from Washington to Boston. Sen. Menendez was not present on the flight.
A few months later both Senators met with Kathleen Sebelius, the then-Health and Human Services Secretary, and “argued vehemently” on behalf of Dr. Melgen’s company in a dispute with the federal government. Witnesses claim that Menendez attempted to “personally pressure” Kathleen Sebelius to “intervene in the billing dispute.”
Despite the evidence against Menendez, no Democrat in the Senate has spoken up against the senator, suggesting that others may be implicated in the corruption scandal.
“Harry Reid’s been implicated, as has Kathleen Sebelius, so it’s clear the corruption extended beyond Menendez’s office,” offered Republican National Committee spokesman Michael Ahrens. “Who knows exactly who else will testify, but it’s just as stunning that no Senate Democrat has said Menendez should resign immediately if convicted.”