The Department of Justice is getting ready to bring corruption charges against Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) over allegedly using his position to help a Democratic donor’s business interests in exchange for gifts, CNN reported on Friday.
A formal announcement about the charges is expected to come “within weeks,” according to CNN.
Citing anonymous sources who were “briefed on the case,” CNN said Attorney General Eric Holder had approved prosecutors’ request to charge Menendez.
The donor at the center of the charges, according to CNN, is Salomon Melgen, an ophthalmologist in Florida who’s been a friend and supporter of Menendez for years.
As TPM has previously highlighted, Melgen’s ties to Menendez have fallen under scrutiny over the past few years. CNN noted that federal investigators have been looking plane trips that Menendez took to the Dominican Republic as Melgen’s guest about five years ago. When the investigation of the trips became public in 2013, Menendez reimbursed Melgen $58,000 for the flights, saying it was an “oversight” that he hadn’t disclose the trips.
In a statement, Menendez’s office denied any wrongdoing in said aspects of the investigation “is suspect.” The senator’s office also said that Menedez has “counted Melgen as one of his closest personal friends for decades.”
“We know many false allegations have been made about this matter, allegations that were ultimately discredited,” the statement said.
Holder actually declined to comment about the CNN report, according to a White House pool report on Friday afternoon.
“I can’t comment on that,” Holder said.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation has also probed Menendez reportedly dealing with Melgen over a port security contract in the Dominican Republic. Melgen, in an interview in 2013, said that he discussed the contract with the senator but stressed nothing illegal happened.
This post has been updated.