Menendez Watch


Stories are popping all over differnt media outlets raising more questions about Sen. Robert Menendez.

From the Washington Free Beacon:

Sen. Bob Menendez (D., N.J.) attempted years ago to block a merger of two Hispanic media companies that would have hurt financially a major donor and damaged the senator’s own stock holdings.


Menendez fought hard to prevent the merger between Univision and the Hispanic Broadcasting Corporation when he was a representative in Congress. He argued that the merger between the two companies would give Univision unacceptable market power and would hurt other Hispanic media companies, in particular the Florida-based Spanish Broadcasting System, in testimony before the Senate Commerce Committee.


Menendez failed to mention during his testimony that he owned stock in Spanish Broadcasting System (SBS) and that SBS principals were major campaign donors.


Menendez’s financial disclosure forms show he owned Spanish Broadcasting System stock when the hearing took place in 2003. He purchased the stock in 1999 when the company executed its initial public offering, and he valued his stock purchase between $15,000 and $50,000. The stock was priced at $20 a share at the time of its IPO.

From the Associated Press (via the Bergen Record):

WASHINGTON — Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano told a Senate panel Wednesday that she was not consulted about the case of an illegal immigrant and registered sex offender before he was arrested in December.


Napolitano said she learned about the case against Luis Abrahan Sanchez Zavaleta after The Associated Press wrote about it last year.


Sanchez, a registered sex offender in New Jersey, was working as an unpaid intern for Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., when he was identified by Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials as an illegal immigrant eligible for deportation.


According to internal ICE documents provided to the Senate Judiciary Committee, agents were ready to arrest Sanchez in late October but were ordered to delay the arrest after superiors were told that the case could generate “significant Congressional and media interest.” Sanchez was arrested in early December.


A U.S. official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the case, told the AP last year that the Department of Homeland Security ordered that the arrest be delayed until after the November election. DHS has denied the allegation.


On Wednesday, Napolitano did not address the specific reasons that led officials to delay Sanchez’s arrest. She said the real issue was why Sanchez, 18, was not arrested by federal authorities in 2010, when ICE was first notified of his sex offense.

And then there’s this, fom the Star Ledger:


But on the very same day Menendez interceded with Obama administration officials on the ports deal last summer, he also went to bat for another company involving a heavily disputed Dominican road-building contract. A deal, records show, that benefited New Jersey investors who contributed to his campaign.


The road contract, which has attracted scant attention in the United States, involved a firm called Codacsa, a Spanish consortium with U.S. interests, various government records show. At a hearing on July 31, 2012, of the Foreign Relations Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere — then chaired by Menendez — the New Jersey senator called on the U.S. government to pressure the Dominican government on behalf of Codacsa in connection with a $42.5 million international arbitration award, according to an official transcript of the proceeding.


A Star-Ledger review of court documents and public records in the Dominican Republic shows that the lone U.S. investor in Codacsa is a New Jersey company named Clearly Tropical. After revving up and winding down its investment over the years, the Fairfield, N.J.-based company had a $130,000 stake in Codacsa in 2012.


State corporate records show the company is headed by Ruby Pacheco, who — with her husband, Joseph Bonanno — have donated $19,800 to Menendez’s campaigns and leadership PAC since 2006, according to Federal Election Commission records. Their most recent contributions came this past June, with two $2,500 checks to Menendez’s November re-election campaign.


Bonanno and Pacheco did not respond to messages left at their home and business.


Brubaker said Menendez did not act at the behest of Bonanno and Pacheco. He said the issue was brought to the senator’s attention by a constituent — Brubaker did not know who — and the senator “decided on his own volition to raise the issue.”


Calling the revelations troubling, Melanie Sloan, executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, said Menendez should consider recusing himself from anything involving the Dominican Republic while the Senate Select Committee on Ethics — which is looking at his use of a donor’s private jet — investigates his advocacy for political contributors.


“I think Menendez has a lot of explaining to do,” Sloan said. “At a minimum, right now he should be recusing himself from any port-security issues and it’s increasingly looking like he should be recused from anything affecting the Dominican Republic.”


To say that Menendez is  under the journalistic microscope would be an understatement.