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Sat Feb 2, 2013, 09:38 AM

Five Things to Know About the Robert Menendez Scandal

Feb 2, 2013 4:45 AM EST

New Jersey Senator Robert Menendez is facing two potentially career-threatening (and very complicated) scandals. Here’s your guide to the tangled web of prostitutes, interns, and Florida ophthalmologists.


Chances are you’ve heard the name Robert Menendez lately--or at least seen on the homepage of one of your favorite news sites or blogs. It’s clear that he’s in some kind of trouble, but trying to catch up on the multifaceted storyline at this point seems daunting. Take a deep breath. There is a lot going on with Menendez right now, and it is, indeed, confusing. Here’s what you should know.

1) Who is Robert Menendez and Why Are We Talking About Him?

-snip-

2) Did they have something to do with an intern?

Yes, scandal number one involves 18-year-old Luis Abrahan Sanchez Zavaleta--an illegal Peruvian immigrant, registered sex offender, and former unpaid intern for Menendez’s 2012 Senate re-election campaign. Sanchez was arrested by U.S. Immigration and Customs officials on December 6, 2012, but the Associated Press reported that ICE had planned to arrest him back on October 25 but were asked by the Department of Homeland Security to hold off till after the election. A DHS spokesman dismissed the report as “categorically false,” and Menendez’s office denied knowing anything about DHS’s alleged interference or the intern’s legal status.

3) What went down in the Dominican Republic?

That’s scandal number two. Back in early November--before the Sanchez case was reported but, more importantly, just days before the election--The Daily Caller, a conservative blog, reported that the divorced father of two had made several trips via private plane to Dominican Republic for illicit rendezvous with prostitutes, citing interviews with an anonymous Dominican Republic official and local women--also unidentified. Menendez’s office promptly denied the allegations and his re-election was unhampered.

The issue was anything but buried, however. Earlier this week, the scandalous rumor resurfaced thanks to the D.C. watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, or CREW. CREW published an email online that it received back in April from a tipster offering statements from women describing sex parties held at a house and on a yacht in the Dominican Republic owned by Florida ophthalmologist Salomon Melgen. In one of the emails, a woman purportedly gives a statement about being paid to have sex with Menendez several times during the spring of 2009. Menendez is not married and prostitution is legal in the Dominican Republic, but only if the prostitute is 18 or older. It’s also important to note that CREW, after passing the emails on to the FBI, says they now have doubts about the source’s identity and motives. (http://edition.cnn.com/2013/01/31/politics/senator-menendez/index.html)

4) So who is Salomon Melgen?

-snip-

5) How reliable are all these reports?

This story should be approached with extreme caution. By far the most important thing to know about Menendez’s dueling scandals is that hardly any of the information floating around about is confirmed, nor has it been verified by sources who are willing to be named. As the FBI investigation continues, more concrete facts can be expected to surface, but at this point the most incriminating accusations against Menendez have come from tips--mostly anonymous--to blogs, at least one of which makes no effort to hide its political leanings. And the other, meanwhile, is starting to doubt it’s sources. "This unnamed source said he has had this information about Sen. Menendez as early as 2008, yet he didn't come forward until four years later, right before Sen. Menendez was up for re-election," CREW’s Executive Director Melanie Sloan told CNN of the tipster responsible for the emails. "Further, this source refused to ever speak by phone to us, with other news organizations, or with the FBI, so, those two facts combined to seriously undermine his credibility."

Full article:
http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2013/02/02/five-things-to-know-about-the-robert-menendez-scandal.html

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Reply Five Things to Know About the Robert Menendez Scandal (Original post)
DonViejo Feb 2013 OP
ProgressiveProfessor Feb 2013 #1
DonViejo Feb 2013 #2
ProgressiveProfessor Feb 2013 #3
DonViejo Feb 2013 #4
Agschmid Feb 2013 #5
DonViejo Feb 2013 #6
Agschmid Feb 2013 #7
DonViejo Feb 2013 #8
rusty fender Feb 2013 #9

Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Sat Feb 2, 2013, 10:22 AM

1. One more item...it is spreading rapidly though not yet viral

As for reliability, Daily Beast as nothing to crow about.

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Response to ProgressiveProfessor (Reply #1)

Sat Feb 2, 2013, 10:36 AM

2. Can you cite some examples, Professor? n/t

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Response to DonViejo (Reply #2)

Sat Feb 2, 2013, 11:06 AM

3. Try Google...its all over the media

Thus the use of the term viral.

Its salacious so it leads, facts are less important

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Response to ProgressiveProfessor (Reply #3)

Sat Feb 2, 2013, 11:12 AM

4. I'm referring to...

this comment of yours...


As for reliability, Daily Beast as nothing to crow about

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Response to DonViejo (Reply #4)

Sat Feb 2, 2013, 11:15 AM

5. See this DU2 Thread...

http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.php?az=view_all&address=439x219924

Seems to be some agreement on "No" on trustworthiness/reliability.

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Response to Agschmid (Reply #5)

Sat Feb 2, 2013, 11:27 AM

6. Thanks for the link but...

that doesn't respond to my question. However, I did find one comment (out of 9 posted, one of which was a DU Bot ad) that I agree with:

. It is sort of shallow. Lot of entertainment, celebrity, fashion stuff.
The news stories are fairly well written, but short. It's a good way to get a headline view of the latest news and interest stories. This is my opinion. Others?


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Response to DonViejo (Reply #6)

Sat Feb 2, 2013, 11:29 AM

7. Don't you miss the DUADbot?

All I am and saying is that issue has been asked and answered in my opinion.

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Response to Agschmid (Reply #7)

Sat Feb 2, 2013, 11:46 AM

8. I wasn't a memeber of DU...

in the bot's hey day but, based on what I just saw; hell no, I don't miss it.

My question for the Professor was regarding his statement that TDB isn't reliable, I just wanted some examples of its lack of reliability. I've found Bob Shrum, Tomasky, Andrew Sullivan (some times) to have fairly decent and reliable opinions. I think Peter Beinart's articles to provide worthwhile information too. There are other authors there I enjoy reading, e.g., David Frum. I don't necessarily agree with everything these authors say, any more than I agree with every comment on DU.

Hope you're having a good Saturday, Agschmid!

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Response to DonViejo (Original post)

Sat Feb 2, 2013, 02:03 PM

9. Why was Menendez hanging out with such a sleazebag?

I usually don't abide my hunches about stories like this, but I am sensing that Menendez is up to his patootie in mud as regards the prostitutes, and the fact that he only paid for the free flights 2 years after their occurrence show a very sleazy attitude towards the public trust.

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