Red-meat politics

Herb Jackson is the Washington correspondent for the North Jersey Herald & News. His two-part series on the fund-raising operation of New Jersey Senator Robert Menendez — Jackson calls it Menendez Inc. — is an eye-opener. Part one reveals the centrality of the Morton’s steakhouse in downtown Washington to Menendez’s fund-raising operation. Over the past five years, Menendez has spent more than $80,000 there.

Part two discusses the importance of the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail line to Menendez’s political career. According to Jackson, in the past four years at least 28 different contractors and developers benefiting from the project made more than 500 contributions totaling more than $825,000. Jackson reports that Menendez declined to respond to questions about his fund raising, but his spokesman said Menendez is proud of his work for his home county and sees no problem with receiving support from those connected to the light rail line.

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