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Sen. Robert Menendez (D-New Jersey) has been indicted on corruption charges by the Justice Department in a bribery scandal that Yr Wonkette would never even cover if the guy had been a Democrat. He's accused of receiving campaign contributions and a lot of fancy la-dee-da travel on private jets and vacations in the Dominican Republic in exchange for doing political favors for Salomon Melgen, a Florida eye doctor whom Menendez insists is just a really good friend who he enjoyed hanging out with and occasionally tossing the occasional port security contract, as friends do.


Just how salacious are these charges? Pretty darn sexy, for certain obscure values of "sexy":

Menendez intervened on Melgen’s behalf in at least two disputes, one with federal regulators over Medicare charges and the other involving a bid by Melgen to secure a ­port-security contract in the Dominican Republic, according to the indictment.

Prosecutors say that over a seven-year period, Menendez relied on Melgen for free private-jet flights to weekend getaways at resorts in Florida, the Dominican Republic and Paris [...]

The 68-page charging document alleges a litany of previously undisclosed gifts that Menendez is alleged to have received and provided more details on the alleged favors that the senator’s office provided Melgen. Prosecutors also allege that Menendez helped three of Melgen’s foreign-born girlfriends obtain visas to visit the United States.

The gifts to Menendez included 19 free rides on private jets to resort locations, often with guests of the senator aboard; long weekends to visit Melgen in West Palm Beach, Fla., or his villa in an exclusive Dominican resort; and campaign donations, including $600,000 to a super PAC that spent heavily on the senator’s behalf during his 2012 reelection campaign.

If true, that is bad and corrupt, and also not nearly as much fun to write about as the totally fake story that slime merchant Tucker Carlson and chipmunk-faced boy reporter Matthew Boyle ran with at the Daily Caller back in 2012, claiming that Mendendez and Melgen had cavorted (people in scandals "cavort," normal decent people just fuck) with a big old sex-pile of hookers in the Dominican Republic, where prostitution is legal but still not advisable for members (HA!) of the U.S. Senate. Worse, went the story, he had not even paid them, which is definitely not cool from a workers' rights standpoint: Pay your sex bills, for pete's sake.

As fake details continued to dribble out (ew), it also was alleged that those unpaid hookers were also underaged, which again would be not cool if true. But eventually it turned out that the hookers actually were paid, just not for sex, and not by Menendez: They'd all been paid to lie about sex-piling Menendez in hopes of ruining his chances for re-election. This gave everyone a sad, because if you can't trust a hooker more than a politician or rightwing journalists, who can you trust? Also, there were murmurings that the whole thing may have been planted by Cuban spies, which would make Tucker Carlson a Red agent, as we have long suspected.

And then a weird thing happened: The current Justice Department investigation grew out of all that thoroughly bogus scandalmongering, because while there were no big senatorial orgy piles, there definitely was an awful lot of Menendez getting free rides to Florida and the DR on Melgen's planes, and things just sort of proceeded from that. The only sexy thing in the actual charges is that bit about Menendez allegedly helping out "three of Melgen's foreign-born girlfriends" with visas -- was that all on one trip? We have a feeling it was probably not, sigh.

Menendez is insisting that this is all trumped up and he will prevail, and by god, he's not going to let the feds get away with painting a fine friendship as something untoward, because really, if a pal has an empty seat on his Gulfstream and asks you to tag along, a true friend tags along. The one thing we're truly dreading is the part where Tucker Carlson inevitably takes credit for having blown the whole thing wide open by falling for a load of hooey.

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[WaPo]

Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.

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