The Department of Justice is preparing to charge Sen. Robert Menendez (D-New Jersey) on criminal corruption accounts, according to reports in CNN and other outlets.
According to the reports, the Justice Department charges will allege that Menendez used his Senate office to advance the business interests of a top Democratic donor, Florida eye doctor Salomon Melgen, in return for various gifts.
Attorney General Eric Holder has signed off on the charges, which could be formally handed down within weeks, CNN's report said.
“As we have said before, we believe all of the Senator's actions have been appropriate and lawful and the facts will ultimately confirm that," Menendez's spokeswoman, Tricia Enright, said in a statement. "Any actions taken by Senator Menendez or his office have been to appropriately address public policy issues and not for any other reason."
“The Senator has counted Dr. Melgen as one of his closest personal friends for decades. The two have spent holidays together and have gone to each other’s family funerals and weddings and have exchanged personal gifts. As has been reported, the start of this investigation is suspect. We know many false allegations have been made about this matter, allegations that were ultimately publicly discredited. We also know that the official investigation of this matter is ongoing, and therefore cannot address allegations being made anonymously.”
The Justice Department opened an investigation in 2013 into the relationship between Menendez and Melgen. In 2013, it emerged that Menendez had not disclosed trips taken to the Dominican Republic on Melgen’s private plane. He later repaid the $58,000 cost of the flights to Melgen.
Menendez is the father of Fusion host Alicia Menendez.
Brett LoGiurato is the senior national political correspondent at Fusion, where he covers all things 2016. He'll give you everything you need to know about politics, with a healthy side of puns.