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Senate Ethics panel ponders accusations against Menendez

WASHINGTON — The Senate Ethics Committee is reviewing allegations that Sen. Robert Menendez accepted inappropriate gifts from a Florida doctor who has flown the New Jersey Democrat to his estate in the Dominican Republic, a senior member of the panel confirmed Thursday.

Sen. Johnny Isakson of Georgia, the ranking Republican on the committee, said the panel saw reports of the Tuesday FBI raid on the West Palm Beach offices of Salomon Melgen, a Menendez friend and political supporter who is also in an $11 million tax dispute with the IRS. That was followed by Menendez's confirmation Wednesday night that he wrote a personal check of more than $58,000 to pay for flights on Melgen's private jet to his Dominican estate — for a pair of trips there more than two years ago.

"The Senate Ethics Committee is aware of the article in the Miami Herald and other media outlets, and we are following established procedures," Isakson said Thursday, declining to discuss any details of the review.

Menendez has denied any wrongdoing.

A statement issued Wednesday also vehemently denied reports, mostly in the conservative news media, that he slept with prostitutes on the island, where prostitution is legal.

Senate Ethics panel ponders accusations against Menendez 01/31/13 [Last modified: Thursday, January 31, 2013 11:27pm]
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