Democratic senator Bob Menendez of New Jersey was indicted this afternoon on 13 federal criminal counts, eight of them bribery. Indicted alongside him is ophthalmologist Salomon Melgen, who’s a big campaign donor to Menendez. Melgen has billed Medicare for tens of millions of dollars in procedures over the years; when that raised the suspicions of federal beancounters, Menendez is alleged to have helped him out in exchange for lavish gifts.
CQ Roll Call tweeted out a neat graphic of the twelve senators that had been indicted in the past. The first senator indicted was wrapped up in a treasonous plot; now our criminal senators are just helping raid health-care entitlements. Progress, maybe?
— CQ Now (@CQnow) April 1, 2015
The most recent member of the upper chamber indicted specifically for bribery before Senator Menendez was . . . also a New Jersey Democrat.
Menendez, who was well known as a hawkish Democrat opposed to President Obama’s attempts to make a nuclear deal with Iran, has a press conference planned for tonight; he could take a leave of absence from the Senate Foreign Relations Committee or he could resign from office entirely.