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New Jersey deserves more than Menendez

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New Jersey deserves more than Menendez

Senator Bob Menendez beat Republican Bob Hugin in the midterm elections.

Senator Bob Menendez beat Republican Bob Hugin in the midterm elections.

Courtesy of Creative Commons

Senator Bob Menendez beat Republican Bob Hugin in the midterm elections.

Courtesy of Creative Commons

Courtesy of Creative Commons

Senator Bob Menendez beat Republican Bob Hugin in the midterm elections.

William Dean

Democrat Bob Menendez faced off against Republican Bob Hugin in the race for one of New Jersey’s senate seats on Tuesday, Nov. 6. Incumbent Sen. Menendez has faced serious allegations of corruption, such as taking money from private interest groups in exchange for use of his political office, according to CNN.

One of Menendez’s common defenses against his slipping lead in the polls is that Hugin is just another rich Republican pumping money into the race.

“When you have a multimillionaire spending unlimited amounts of money, it always makes it a little bit more challenging,” Menendez said in a Huffington Post interview. “But we’ll win.”

What Menendez failed to mention was his close primary win against little known Democratic contender Lisa McCormick. Patch.com reported that Menendez won by 23.8 percent.

While this may not seem like a close victory, USA Today found that McCormick received virtually no funding, and did not raise enough money to break the $5,000 disclosure threshold set by the Federal Election Commission. These results suggest that voters from the Democratic Party want Menendez out.

This introduces the notion that Menendez’s own party wants him out. Menendez has held office since 2006 and remains a relatively quiet senator who doesn’t raise much controversy. But in 2015, Menendez became the first senator to go to trial for corruption and bribery charges in 36 years, according to Reuters.

On April 1, 2015, the Department of Justice (DOJ) released official charges against Menendez which included “one count of conspiracy, …eight counts of bribery and three counts of honest services fraud.”

These charges stemmed from Menendez’s questionable relationship with Dr. Salomon Melgen, who U.S. Attorneys accused of Medicare fraud and cheating the program of “as much as $190 million,” according to the New York Times.

Menendez “[used] his Senate office and staff to advocate on behalf of Melgen’s personal and financial interests.” according to the DOJ charges. This included working on behalf of Melgen to help clear him of the Medicare fraud charges and getting visas for three of Melgen’s girlfriends.

In return, “Menendez accepted close to $1 million worth of lavish gifts and campaign contributions.” Some gifts included “flights on Melgen’s private jet… numerous vacations at Melgen’s Caribbean villa…and a hotel room in Paris.” The DOJ also alleges that Menendez never disclosed any of this.

The bottom line is: Menendez is bad news. New Jersey deserves a senator who will not perpetuate the stereotype of it being one of the most corrupt states in the Union.

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New Jersey deserves more than Menendez