Another note on the Menendez indictment

I took a brief look at the indictment handed up this week against Senator Robert Menendez and Dr. Salomon Melgen in “Notes on the Menendez indictment.” Andy McCarthy brings an educated prosecutorial eye to a reading of the indictment in “Obama’s Justice Department charges Menendez…but not Reid.” There is a dearth of intelligent commentary on the indictment. Andy’s post stands out in this context, but not just for this reason. He knows what he’s talking about.

The indictment is 68 pages long. Andy doesn’t cover all of it. One set of allegations on which he doesn’t comment involves Menendez’s solicitation of Dr. Melgen to contribute to an unnamed female Democratic Senator (“Senator 1″) in exchange for the female Senator’s solicitation of contributions on Menendez’s behalf (paragraphs 54-58). In the picture painted by the indictment, this is small potatoes. (Where is Dan Quayle when I need him?)

The unnamed Senator is an incumbent Democratic woman who faced an August 2012 primary. According to the indictment, Menendez and the unnamed Democratic Senator agreed to raise “approximately” $25,000 for each other (paragraph 54). According to the indictment, Menendez sought a contribution of $8,000 from his friend Dr. Melgen to help fulfill this commitment to Senator 1, to whom Melgen had never before contributed.

Six incumbent Democratic women Senators were up for reelection in 2012. Of the six, only Minnesota’s own Amy Klobuchar faced opposition in an August 2012 primary. (Stabenow ran unopposed in an August 2012 primary.) Is Klobuchar Senator 1?

Indeed she is. Both the Atlantic and the AP noted Klobuchar’s resemblance to “Senator 1.” Klobuchar accepted contributions from Dr. Melgen and from Senator Menendez’s PAC. The Atlantic’s David Graham reports that Klobuchar will now return the contributions:

After The Atlantic brought the indictment to the attention of Klobuchar’s office, she moved quickly to distance herself from the donations. “Our campaign has never received questions from federal authorities about these contributions,” Klobuchar campaign aide Justin Buoen said. “The campaign is returning the contributions and will also be returning the contributions received from Senator Menendez’s PAC.

Not that there’s anything wrong with it (at least insofar as Senator Klobuchar is concerned).

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