Allegations that U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez solicited underage prostitutes during trips to the Dominican Republic are roiling the political landscape today as sharks - in the form of Menendez's enemies - begin to circle.
But the unproven allegations are not the only issue troubling the New Jersey senator as he assumes the chairmanship of the Powerful Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
Yesterday, Benedetto Bigica, 45, admitted in federal court that he and his brother Joseph Bigica, funneled $21,400 in illegal contributions to Menendez's campaign. That guilty pleas follows one from Bigica's brother Joseph last May to steering more than $100,000 in illegal contributions to Menendez.
Menendez was not implicated in either case.
Last month, the Associated Press reported that Menendez had employed as an intern an illegal immigrant who was a registered sex offender. According to the AP, a source told them that immigration officials were informed of the intern's presence in Menendez's office in October, but were instructed by officials with the Department of Homeland Security to hold off until after the November election.
A Homeland Security official categorically denied the AP report that the arrest was delayed, but documents later released showed DHS actually had delayed the arrest.
Federal Immigration officials in New Jersey advised that the arrest "had the possibility of garnering significant congressional and media interest" and were "advised to postpone the arrest" pending approval from Washington, the documents showed.
There was no indication in the report that Menendez had anything to do with the delay.
After weeks of speculation, the direction of the Newark mayoral race may take an important turn today as prominent members of the Payne political family gather at Newark's Robert Treat Hotel at 11:30 a.m.
The campaign of Newark mayoral candidate Shavar Jeffries has called a press conference at which both U.S. Rep. Donald M. Payne, Jr. (D-10) and Essex County deputy chief of staff and former state Assemblyman William D. Payne will be present.Read More >
Days Since Last Christie Press Conference (Jan. 9)
Bridget Anne Kelly’s attorney says lawmakers rushed to judgement An attorney for former top Gov. Chris Christie administration official Bridget Anne Kelly filed paperwork arguing his client shouldn’t have to comply with a legislative subpoena. The documents, filed by Kelly attorney Michael Critchley, argues lawmakers rushed to judgment...
By Suzanne M. Walters When unions representing local police and firefighters cannot agree to new contract terms with local governments, State law mandates that the parties submit to binding arbitration. A third-party referee, then, sets the... Read More >
"The governor has allowed political cronyism to continue and even flourish, rather than stamp it out, with some of his closest confidants enriching themselves through millions of dollars in state contracts, and legal and lobbying fees, an Asbury Park Press review of thousands of pages of campaign, lobbying and contracting documents found."- The Asbury Park Press
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