Sen. Menendez Dips Deep Into His Assets to Repay Donor

Wednesday, 06 Feb 2013 11:47 AM

By Dan Weil

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New Jersey Sen. Robert Menendez' decision last month to repay $58,500 to one of his top political donors for free plane flights has put a major dent into his net worth.

That sum accounts for between 32 percent and 87 percent of the money he held in banks accounts and stocks as of last year, according to his financial disclosure form, the National Journal reports.

Menendez paid back the contributor, Florida eye doctor Salomon Melgen, Jan. 4 for two private plane flights to the Dominican Republic. But the reimbursement didn't come until after the affair was made public.

A New Jersey Republican group filed a complaint in November, accusing Menendez of breaking Senate rules by "repeatedly flying on a private jet to the Dominican Republic and other locations."

Good government advocates weren't too impressed with Menendez' repayment to Melgen.

"He waited until he was caught to pay them back," Melanie Sloan, executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics, told the Journal. "If you rob a bank — and you're caught  — you don't say, 'Take the money back and forget about it.'"




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