Tags: Robert Menendez | federal investigation | Kathleen Sebelius

Kathleen Sebelius Questioned By Feds in Menendez Case

By    |   Tuesday, 10 Mar 2015 03:44 PM

Former Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said she met with Sen. Bob Menendez privately in 2012 and assured him that rules had been delivered even-handedly in a dispute between the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and a company owned by Dr. Salomon Melgen, Politico reported.

"It was pretty straightforward," Sebelius told Politico by phone Monday of her meeting in the offices of then Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

"We just reiterated what was not new information to the senator, but reinforced the fact that this was the procedure – the rules were clear that they were uniformly administered. And then the meeting ended."

Sebelius told Politico that she assured the billing issue with the Florida ophthalmologist had been handled in an "even-handed" manner.

Menendez is expected to be indicted on federal charges over allegations he sought favors on behalf of Melgen, who had donated to his re-election bid as well as a super PAC that was run by associates of Reid, Politico said.

The New Jersey Democrat has proclaimed his innocence. His spokeswoman told Politico that he never mentioned Melgen's name in the Sebelius meeting, but rather focused on CMS billing practices and issues he had with those.

Sebelius told Politico that she had been advised Menendez sought the meeting to talk about "billing issues with Dr. Melgen," and she sought counsel from HHS attorneys before talking with him directly, noting they gave her the green light. She told the senator, Politico added, that the billing probe was being conducted by an outside review board.

At least one GOP senator called the investigation of Menendez politically motivated. The Hill reported that Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas thinks the allegations of criminal corruption are "political retribution against the New Jersey Democrat for opposing the White House's negotiations with Iran."

Said Cruz at the Iowa Ag Summit meeting on Saturday: "The announcement this week by the Justice Department that they were bringing charges against Bob Menendez — I will point out that the timing seems awfully coincidental that … in the very week that Bob Menendez showed incredible courage to speak out and call out President Obama for the damage that his policy is doing to our national security … the Justice Department announces they're moving forward with the criminal prosecution."

He added: "It raises the suggestion to other Democrats that if you dare part from the Obama White House, that criminal prosecutions will be used potentially as a political weapon against you as well."

Menendez on Tuesday called for an investigation of the Justice Department, which he said has leaked details about a possible criminal indictment against him, Politico said. "All I can say is: leaks are in violation of the law."

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Kathleen Sebelius said she met with Sen. Bob Menendez privately in 2012 and assured him that rules had been delivered even-handedly in a dispute between the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and a company owned by Dr. Salomon Melgen, Politico reported.
Robert Menendez, federal investigation, Kathleen Sebelius
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2015-44-10
Tuesday, 10 Mar 2015 03:44 PM
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